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Stunted By Reality Just another know-it-all talking about life, business, technology, sports and music.

12Jun/14Off

#YesAllWomen hashtag is failing even in preaching to the converted

I've often described Twitter as a noisy echo chamber. And I stand by that.

There are too many voices on Twitter that it's hard to discover truly meaningful or compelling thoughts. And when you, do it's quite likely that it's either something you've heard before, are in complete agreement with or even (gasp) something you've said already.

Twitter has it's uses which is why now and again other you might get something other than a joke amongst the trending topics. This early part of June it has mostly been the #YessAllWomen campaign which I believe has been inspired by a supposed lack of respect of women from men, violence and rape against women and er... the serious travesty of men not accepting no as no when hitting on women. Yes, that all time stain against humanity which is surely a Nobel Peace prize-in-waiting. If only Paris Hilton can stop taking selfies long enough to unsuccessfully campaign about the men who incorrectly come to the conclusion that because they would do her then that means she would do them.

A campaign highlighting that women deserve respect is definitely well meaning and needs no justification. However the #YesAllWomen campaign started being by dominated by generalised anti-male stuff like this

and this classic article (by a man no less!)

The #yesallwomen campaign made me worried for my infant daughter's future My daughter is 14 months old. The #yesallwomen campaign made it clear that she will grow up in a world saturated in misogyny and violence

Which makes you wonder why on earth this journalist is even having kids if the world is so messed up? You get the feeling that this guy is going to be first in line for genetic embryo selection in order to avoid getting a girl just as soon as mankind solves the problems around the ethics of that. But maybe not, as men are evidently the problem in his violent view of the world. Like most right thinking men with balls and who are not afraid to put a woman in her place I had my say...

Predictably despite my presence on Twitter being conspicuous only for it's inconspicuousness, the Twitter feminists promptly got wind of it and a very interesting conversation ensued. During which it was asserted that though women understand that it is not all men are threat, however all women feel under threat, all the time. If looked at from another point of view that means any male presence is a threat. In typical Twitter fashion, no one convinced anyone else except we all vented and got retweets from our fellow followers. It's is ironic that no agreement was reached despite the well proven fact that the Twitterati are derived from a certain section of society. You would think it would be easy to preach to the converted, but today I've found out that it isn't.

It's a pity that there's so little building construction going on in the western world. Now that Twitter is the de-facto social barometer it is probably right to think that if builders still engaged in mass wolf-whistling, Presidents and Prime Ministers would be forced into calling press-conferences promising to address this scourge of society following another twitter storm. As far as I can tell, that behaviour never brought society down, disgusting as it may be.

My point is that that a furore on Twitter feels a multitude of times more forceful, usually amplified by Twitter's coverage in the media and the use of Twitter reaction as referable measurement of public outrage. This is despite the majority of the world not being on Twitter and it not being being a representative sample of any geographic population that I'm aware of.

I'm not surprised that Boko Haram and other modern terrorists are not on Twitter despite it's effectiveness in attracting similar minded itchy-fingered keyboard zealots. Apart from Beliebers can any demography deal with the bile of an ill-informed, yet well aimed shit-storm? Enough celebrities have quit Twitter in a huff or been forced into apologising having been baited by a single ignorant troll. Now imagine if you can, an Earth-sized harem of Twitter feminists with no facts, no figures to refer to; armed with cut-and-paste quotes and spurred on by the idea that, if unchecked the inability of men to say no when first told where to stick their inept lyrics, will somehow grow into the violent subjugation of women! And of course, that there is a majority of these people on Twitter. A logical person like me would ask why these feminists are willing to spend time on a platform such as Twitter if it is filled with such like, except it would be pointless because this debate does not let facts get in the way.

If you're a feminist and haven't been offended enough by my snide jokes to read this far I will go on to put it on record that there is indeed a problem of some men not respecting women and doing despicable things to them by taking advantage of men's physical superiority and it is is serious. But it's less & less pervasive as the years go by. The glass is half full not half empty. Any campaign to gain respect needs to engage men positively and not demonise those of us who love women the right way.

It is women's prerogative to campaign how they want. I'm just saying that I know us men and am by no means saying what women should do. However this is a note of advice to women that if we feel something is ridiculous we will only react one way of two ways. With indifference or if we're bothered we'll react with humour. Unless you're journalist with no balls! 🙂

childism

 

25Apr/14Off

Why men are funnier than women

I'm a staunch believer that behavioural differences in human beings are most often dictated by culture rather than by genetics. My view firmly includes most racial and gender differences.

So sometime ago I read some comments made by Adam Carolla an American comedian, writer and radio personality who said that men are funnier than women. A shit-storm had promptly started around this topic with all the shit squarely aimed at Carolla....well maybe not squarely... but as well as one can aim a shit when it's hit a fan. In the end Carolla's words were somehow being interpreted as to say that women are not funny; period. No pun intended. The suggestion that Carolla meant that women are incapable of being funny is not something that I observed. Merely that they are just as capable but are less likely to be funny.

Anyway Carolla said something I'd never seriously thought about, but having read it all I could think was 'that of course they are, it's cultural!' I'm not going to bore you with stats to try and prove the fact, but I will instead just appeal to all those who disagree to put away their blinkers and face reality. Women are not as funny as men NOT because they are born that way but because they mostly never have to court men in order to go out with them.

That's right folks, the act of actively trying to woo someone of the opposite sex is one of the hardest things known to men.  It is so difficult that I think the phrase 'it's not rocket science' should be replaced by 'it's not courtship'. Lets face it the success rate of rockets being sent to space is probably much better than the 'pull' rate of any man you know. No doubt you may know a genuine local stud or may have had the pleasure of being a wingman to such a guy but one thing is for sure, on an average night a guy on the pull will have more wrecks than the number of times NASA has had failed space missions. In short, the chances of success are indeed harder than rocket science.

The fact that we only remember details of the successes of our courting activities shouldn't take away from the overall difficulty of hooking up with someone.  It is natural that people block all memories of failure and therefore think themselves as more successful than they actually are. That's because memory block is in itself a coping mechanism designed to keep spirits high and maximise the chances of future success, despite the sad reality.

One thing is for sure, whatever the intention is when a guy tries to attract someone it all starts with the girl having done a half second check that results in a virtual green or red light. But that in itself is no guarantee that a guy will actually get himself a new girlfriend, because that mental note is normally only based on such superficial things as looks, dress sense, dance ability, muscles or whatever gimmick a guy will have used to initiate contact.

It is after this stage that the ability to engage a woman is crucial. After all, even when meeting someone in a nightclub, quite a number of women are misguided enough to picture a lasting relationship based on face, dress sense, dancing or muscles. Needless to say a man's ability to offer insight into the Greek financial crisis will not engage most women.... not even if that woman is Angela Merkel. As well as an appealing face it is always best for you as a guy to be able to provide a woman some sort of relaxing conversation, mostly to keep them from focusing on your bad points. It is my observation that the success of a relationship is dictated by how long we can keep the other person from dwelling on our individual short comings. No pun intended.

My theory is that even a 40 year old aspiring rapper with an unsuccessful drug dealing sideline can hold down a relationship if they can guarantee a woman plenty of conversation, punctuated by frequent compliments and laughs. Next to sex, no other feeling generates an inner sense of fuzzy warmth, than laughter. Unfortunately to get sex (or a relationship as women call it), one has to have somehow demonstrated an ability to generate said warm fuzzy feeling. Which is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Fortunately for women, most societies have long dictated that they should enjoy spiritual, moral and other intangible benefits which men should not. The ultimate benefit being that women do not have to actively seek out partners. This is an allowance which is afforded to them by various unclear traditions. Therefore, catch 22 or not, it is for us men to;
(a) blindly seek out a woman whose half a second check we passed and not her friend (because that sort of thing is hard to recover from)
(b) maintain her attention at all times,
(c) keep women distracted from whatever deficiencies we may have,
(d) make sure that our women only conduct or act upon as few half a second checks as possible by being all the man she needs.
Yep, it's tough being a man! But it's all a lot easier if you can make a woman laugh.

In practise, the fact that from an early age girls only have to sit back and watch wave after wave of desperate young men try to attract them, means that they are far short of training in being funny. Thus my theory is that the funnier women are more likely to be gay, ugly or impatient about being hit on. Which is just as well because I believe there are many kinds of sexy and that for a not-so-good-looking woman being funny is an equaliser. The blonde joke phenomenom is an illustration of this. Society may not be saying it as such but what it implies is that pretty women don't need to be smart to be attractive. Or funny. Personally I'm one of those guys who believes that personality can be sexy. So yes, I'll admit that once upon a time when I went on dates I felt like wearing a t-shirt saying 'she's not ugly, she's funny!'

As you can tell this article is a non-scientific observation of my version of reality, but one thing that is true is that humour is the result of several cultural factors and that it can be developed later in life as a coping mechanism. It's not a bad thing if women are not as funny as men, in fact it would be very hard for them to be equally funny given that women generally do not have the benefit of years of practise. Being funny is also about recycling jokes from one courtship to another, seeing what works, mostly as a result of being knocked back and trying to vary the jokes one unsuccessful relationship at a time. All of that is hard enough without our friends constantly seeking to highlight any perceived lack of sexual activities in our life. You see, men don't talk about sex to each other, at least not the actual act of doing it. Most sex-talk between guys is around the lack of sex one of our friends may be experiencing. Usually that's as a smokescreen to our own lack of sex. Again this ritual is easier to deal with if one develops a sense humour.

Beyond romantic comedies I have no insight into what women talk about amongst themselves, but I struggle to think that their conversations about sex or any other topics are as laced with humour as ours are. I'm led to believe that sex is serious business to most women. So serious that young men find it hard to get some and that when a young lady finally has something to report, her friends want to know every detail. That said I'd actually suggest that an ability to be tactful is much more useful to women than a sense of humour given how readily they are to mistake jokes as 'snide comments'. Can you imagine being the girlfriend who joked that a low-cut top makes a friend look easy just as she's about to go on a first date? That is borderline 'you're trying to steal my man' territory and were that accusation ever to rear it's head, God help the neutral friend that will try to play down the situation with another joke.

It is for this reason that I envy peacocks. Everyone knows that they are much prettier than the female of the species and why. If God ever created the world again, I really hope he would solve the courtship problem in humans just like he did with peacocks. All it would take for Adam Carolla to defend himself is to whip out his lush multi-coloured tail-feathers and invite any doubting females.....'honey, look at yours then look at mine...' .

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12Apr/14Off

Defending the indefensible is not illegal, it’s just costly

Much to the relief of the social media generation the Oscar Pistorius trial has turned into the media circus we all thought it would be. Cat videos and loo updates seem to have taken a little bit of a back seat on Twitter and Facebook but sadly the same can't be said for selfies.

Just in case no one believed he was there.

The first commentary coming out from the trial centered on the defence, who got to be the warm-up act in what would turn out to be a false dawn for Pistorius's hopes of walking away with his freedom. I'm no lawyer but I've been surprised at people giving props to Barry Roux. Personally I think that Pistorius's strategy of not admitting guilt on even the smallest charge is suicide. Unless Oscar is so up himself that this is his idea, then his lawyers have got to take the blame. Having said that, for a million dollar fee I would happily have a go at a couple of witnesses before sitting back and letting an egotistical killer hang himself on the dock.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I get the feeling that Barry's hardest job was convincing Pistorious to sell his house to fund that fee. Just as well because this isn't a movie and Columbo is not going to show up and force the guy to confess before trying to do a runner in a crowded room. But if that happened and there were still some outstanding legal bills you can bet that he wouldn't get very far though as Barry Roux will definitely catch him regardless of whether or not Pistorius was wearing blades. The last thing a lawyer wants is to lose money to other lawyers in trying to recover money owed!

I'm guessing that Pistorius's idea in fighting these charges is that wealthy people have in the past bought justice and that he should be no different to other wealthy criminals. It's just the way it is right? You have money you use it. For good or ill. That's life. There'll be time to repent later. Well I would say that he won't be a wealthy criminal for long with this ridiculous strategy of not accepting any responsibility for his catalogue of misdemeanors. Showing that you can accept some responsibility is the best way of being given the benefit of the doubt in the event that you want to deny being responsible for something unpleasant. Like murder.

Far be it for me to give tips on how to get off of a murder charge, but hey it's the times we live in. If I'm not commenting on this trial then it would probably be cat videos or loo updates!

 

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22Feb/13Off

Banksy

I've always believed that art and music are universally liked by everyone. The only thing that differs in each of us is what type of art or music one likes.

Unlike music when you listen to art types who are part of the establishment you get the feeling that only they can acknowledge what is and isn't art and whether or not it's good. Music certainly has it's snobs but it does not feel like any one genre 'owns' music.

I've just been reading an article in the Guardian entitled 'Banksy: overated purveyor of art-lite'. I knew it was link bait just by reading the headline but thought I should read on to see what angle the author was coming from.

The impression I got was that Jonathan Jones thinks that art should be deep and evoke discussion and amongst the comments those who agreed shared the same sentiment. Personally I think being deep isn't quantifiable and that the quest for it is what has left the art world on the road to ir-relevance in the real world beyond whether or not a piece is a good investment. Too much meaningless art has been created and labelled abstract or deep whilst condescending those of us who don't get it. Add to that evoking discussion seems to be less desirable than for people to get the meaning of an art piece. However in my opinion an artist must be allowed to outline their quest, be it to get attention, to get paid, to highlight an issue or even to see what junk they can get away with by labelling it art.

Anyway, I leave you with the words of one of the commenters who manages to express it the way I see it.

@TheManFromRotherham -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2013/feb/19/banksy-overrated-art

Banksy's work has always been something you could take in as you fleetingly see it as you pass at 40 mph in a car.
I think that's a key point being missed here by Jonathan Jones.
Banksy's work is designed to function as you move past it quickly, walking or on the bus, on your way to somewhere else. It is, as someone else said, like a cartoon in a newspaper.
Street art has a similar impermanence; a throwaway comment to be read one day and replaced the next. It's not supposed to be stared at and poured over like a painting in a gallery. And that's why it works and that's why it's popular. Did Banksy ever intend it to be anything more? Personally I doubt it.

image

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17Dec/12Off

Let us bring an end to the mass killings

Another week and yet another mass killing has happened in America, this time at an infant school in the small Connecticut town of Sandy Hook. The kind of town parents move to in order to bring their children up in the safest environment possible. As we have so sadly learnt from events in Norway, Finland, Dunblane and other places around the world these cowardly acts are not unique to America, but unfortunately the US is by far and away the country in which this most often happens.

Correlation never always equals to causation but it's difficult to come to a different answer on the subject of American mass killings and their citizens' right to bare arms. The Republicans are of course the party which has taken itself to the forefront of the defenders of this right. If Maslow was a Republican you can be sure that his hierarchy of needs would specifically mention weapons in the safety category. Ignoring the fact that arming one-self may result in added protection but will by nature indisputably introduce danger where none existed. So it is that a wise Republican politician Louie Gohmert has after not-so careful consideration come to the conclusion that that the mass slaughter would have gone differently if Sandy Hook school principal Dawn Hochsprung had been armed.

.., I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids..

Ignoring the fact that most school principals do not have an inner Lara Croft in them to summon at will, I don't agree with this specific train of thought. Mainly because once she would have heard the gunfire it probably means that someone is already dead. Prevention is better than cure and this solution is barely even a solution never mind being a cure. What I do believe however is that if everyone was armed it is probable that fewer mass killings would occur because they are by nature carried out by cowards who prey on society's collective trust in each other to do their evil deeds. Except that it is impossible to arm everyone so that idea is a non-starter. In fact I believe that from where we are it's easier to achieve a society with no civilian gun ownership than one with universal ownership.

My thoughts are that America needs comprehensive restrictions on gun ownership. At least to severely lessen the number of people who grow up around guns and become so familiar with them that one frustrated day after leading unremarkable crime-free adult lives they are not able to turn to their legally gotten weapons and kill defenceless people en masse. Restrictions would certainly limit the type of mass killings in which the killers want to feel the power over another human which they think is expressed by these executions. It is almost certainly a feeling that is nurtured in a person who handles guns but has never fired at anything other than a cardboard cutout which is when they might wonder how much more destruction it can do to a live person. Sick thoughts no doubt, but then you would have to have sick thoughts to be a mass-killer.

However there is another type of killer who I've noticed as the younger kind of mass-killer. The guys who even record YouTube videos to justify their actions. These guys I think just want to be remembered in a macabre type of glory. For those cowards my bet is that they know that their names will be remembered (even if it's in a bad way) long after they are gone. There will be no shortage of media organisations covering their background, their motivation and their actions in a fruitless attempt to provide insight. I don't know about you, but I never want to know who the killers were. Well I do, but it's information I could live without because I already know that they are evil. Furthermore at that exact moment another young would-be killer is probably watching that news program and thinking that they have stumbled onto the surest way to get their 15 minutes of fame, even if they will die to achieve it.

The only answer is therefore for all media to never tell us the names of these psychos. We should let them die in the ignominy of the gore forums which they and their like hang out on, whilst the rest of us remember the real people who we ought to remember, the victims.

12May/12Off

Whose leak is it anyway?

The recent revelation that another underwear bomb plot was foiled was great news for all. Like most people I'm heartened by humanity's response to the threat posed by terrorists. The change in world affairs over the last decade has been largely directed by the acts of terrorism a lot of people have suffered. It is great to know that the security services and people in general are constantly on the tails of the extremists who want to spoil life for all.

So after all the congratulating was done I figured I didn't need to know any more about the how and when this plot got foiled. But to my surprise the information kept coming. Drip, drip, drip. Five days on and it's a miracle we don't yet know what the underwear of choice for these idiots is. Are they still under the influence of Calvin Klein's Marky Mark campaign or have they succumbed to David Beckham's inspiration that has been brought to life by H & M? Y-Fronts or no Y-fronts. That is the question. After all there is no better selling point for underwear than the ability to feel comfortable with a bomb in them.

May contain explosives

For those of you with a sense of humour by-pass, the above is not to take lightly the serious consequences of terrorism. It is merely to highlight the unnecessary risk posed by the chest-thumping officials who leaked the details that the 'bomber' was a plant. A British born guy no less, of the kind that poses most danger in the western world with their ability to be inconspicuous. On the list of special agents, the transformation skills requirement is much less than Martin Lawrence's in Big Mama.

He was so serious about dying that he didn't bother to wear clean underwear

In addition it also turns out that the bomb was an 'evolution' of a prior device probably made by the Calvin Klein of bombs and modified to the extent that it was undetectable by airport security scanners. Again information that you or I don't need to know. Unless you or I are planning on bombing aeroplanes. Unlikely as it is you'd think that would be a basic assumption of all security agents. Otherwise why do we all now have to take our shoes off and subjected to digital stripping before boarding an aeroplane? But no. It turns out that if you put a security agent in front of a newspaper reporter they'll squeal faster than an Al-Qaeda operative being water boarded on a rendition in Libya. The reporter, himself not being able to keep a lid on anything apart from their sources, promptly did what their job title says. They reported. Now at this point I'll hear you suggesting that the aforementioned title of idiots which I applied to the terrorists must be applied to the security agent and the reporter. You are of course right. In fact we should strip the prefix of security from that agent too. This is utter madness of the highest level and I'm sure that I don't need to explain why, except for the fact that this post's purpose is just to rant and rave in the hope that the parties involved somehow stumble upon this article and post their regret in the comments section below.

With all the leaked information it's apparent to anyone how 'improvements' can be made into any future devices from this brand of bombs. I know that the trend nowadays is for an open and transparent world, but I am still firmly in the camp that says I don't need to know everything that happens if it doesn't directly affect me. This is a simplistic statement which I can justify with another rant of it's own so please don't call me out on it lest we get distracted from the rant at hand.

I have no idea what motivated the leaks and their reporting, but if I was to guess I would say it was the desire to say 'hey look at how competent we all are'. Which the reporter instantly one-upped by trying to show his or her own peers how reliable their sources are. All this ignored the reality of the world we live in, to the possible detriment of future security operations. Some things are best not said dear reader. Transparency and openness are generally great but not when they serve no purpose in the public interest as we have seen with celebrity culture or when they unwittingly enable the few bad people in the world to ruin life for all the rest. The ego of a reporter and his source the security agent is no reason to ignore that reality.

Nudists loved the new airline policy until it banned all human flight

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12Jan/12Off

Musicians need to be like bloggers and stop whingeing

I've often thought that literature and music share a lot and by that I don't mean the historical links of cheap arty neighbourhoods populated by musicians, artists, poets, actors and writers all scrounging around trying to find themselves.

Just like music, writing has now evolved so much that some old timers would rather terms like literature and chord were not applied to blogging and grime music respectively. And just like it would be churlish to deny that instant noodles are not noodles, it is improper to deny those two their place in their respective cultures.

And so it is that like music, writing is an art form. However apart from a deluded minority you don't get us bloggers thinking that we MUST live off the pen keyboard.

Musicians need to get over that aspect of their art and realise that there are thousands of them out there and that just because they have spent some money on their craft, doesn't mean that the world owes them a living. In the music and bloggers analogy writers who can string two sentences together would try to go professional; and as soon as they try to live off of writing they would start to complain about every aspect of the industry. Spouting on about anything from the 'dinosaurs' who don't get the change that's happening right down to the new school digital gatekeepers who are screwing them on behalf of the dinosaurs (who want to hold onto inflated profits from times gone by).

"To save money we will be replacing our reporters with bloggers, who will work for free."

You only have to look at the blogging world to realise that we too spend money on our craft hoping that one day we'll make it. However making it for most of us just means getting a back-link and getting 100 hits in a day. There are millions of websites out there competing for eyeballs and whilst it would be great for me to be paid to write, I seriously don't lose any sleep over it. I will continue to fork out money to Godaddy (and their girls), theme designers, app makers and anyone else who promises to make my blog look cool or easy to put together. I am prepared to do all this in order to fool a few readers a day into clicking the subscribe button. One day my kids may be mad at me because they missed out on playing time whilst I wrote about my sadness at the death of a dictator but you know what? I don't mind. I blog for the love of it and though my time is worth a lot to me and my family, the fact that I'm doing it for me means that I'm content with not charging you to read it. Link away dear friend. Unless I suddenly become popular and am the subject of a mega-bucks Rupert Murdoch takeover, this website will always be freely available. Though lets face it, everyone has their price so you never know what could tempt me to put up a paywall.

Nevertheless, I am truly content with knowing that the millions of rubbish websites and blogs out there make it much less likely that mine will be found by any significant number of people. Not through a lack of presence of course, but apathy from readers who are tired of being trapped into reading ugly blogs full of unoriginal content churned out by machines. And that's just if you're lucky, because on a bad day surfing the web can result in your computer catching a virus or you visiting a site for paid local (same) sex services which would be impossible to explain if your boss or wife looked at your browser history.

In the end it's clear to me that the internet is full of junk. Millions of rubbish websites with trash-type content strung together by biased writers who stopped learning grammar soon as they finished learning their ABCs and all available through one of the greatest ever innovations in history. The weird thing is that some of that junk is actually really popular and a huge number of other well written and presented content will never be exposed to much more than the writer who wrote it and their long lost ex who is trying to track them down. I'm conceited enough to think that my blog is one of the better ones, but I'm not up-myself enough to think that internet surfers owe me a living.

Despite all this I'm not deterred in my quest to write compelling posts and it's probable that my anti-Apple zeal could have been cured if Steve Jobs had ever said that the Macbook was so magical it could make me write like a latter-day Thomas Hardy. The Macbook is one of the few things that separates me from my very musical younger brother. The fact that he has invested much more in his equipment than I in blogging aids. This could quite easily have been the reverse had I been born in the days of the type-writer, however in terms of time spent I believe I would have no problem matching him or any other arty type. Nonetheless I won't single him out because he has never expressed a sense of entitlement about his standing in the music business. My ire is directed at his up-and-coming peers in general who complain about the state of an industry which they have chosen in all consciousness to be a part of.

As the proprietor of a music related business, I'm not anti-musician nor do I foresee doom and gloom on either side of the music business artist or establishment. I simply believe that people have choices. To work in the industry or not. To view it as a hobby or not. To use certain services or not. To always complain about the state of things and the problems they encounter or to try and effect change and solutions. But most pertinently musicians also have the choice to live in the real world and look around...... or not. Either way I wish they'd stop whingeing about the business!

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10Jan/12Off

The screwing game: Cable companies vs Fred Wilson

New York Knicks logo

Perenially on the cusp

Fred Wilson on AVC recently wrote a blog post about how he ended up 'illegally' streaming a New York Knicks match because there was no 'legal' way for him to pay for it without actually going to the match. In that situation he had been willing to pay even $25 for the priviledge. The post is aptly titled #screwcable!

In and amongst the support for what Fred did were some well argued contrarian views. The quote below is not one of them though it raises an important issue.

The players, owners, league spend money to enter into contracts with cable companies and specialized networks, who in turn negotiate with advertisers to bring viewers an entertainment medium. They have real costs to all of this. But because someone doesn't like that there are fees or limitations or other obstacles within the creating group's model, it's okay to simply "hack" in and take what one likes?

I agree that a lot of planning and investment goes into making a profitable business out of a sports team or even any other entertainment performance like a music album or whatever. Those investors and operators are perfectly entitled to charge what they want and how they want in order to recoup their costs.

For me the big caveat in all the above that turns someone like Fred into a 'pirate' is the fact that during business planning a conscious decision has been made to have this sports package not appeal to him. That is through a combination of pricing, segmentation rights, down to stadium capacity, match day scheduling and location. When all is said and done the rights holders have put together a package which they believe will earn them the most revenue possible in order to recoup costs that they have deemed as appropriate for this enterprise.

In simple terms; when selling their package rightsholders are consciously saying #screwyou to a certain percentage of interested parties. Nothing wrong with that. It's their prerogative and a balance HAS to be found.

What I find interesting is that there seems to be a belief that it's okay to then go after these people who have already been told to screw themselves as if they actually mattered to the business model. They don't really; and any plan should not have taken into account revenue from someone who has been told where to go or revenue lost by that person consuming that service in a way that does not deprive other willing buyers. The fact is no business can sell all their products to everybody all of the time. Someone has to be out of the loop even though digital products make that scenario theoretically possible.

Naturally there are people who infringe copyright and would have been perfectly able to legally consume it. It is wrong of course, but I believe that every business model has to try to have low enough barriers to allow people to take up the product. In a previous post I referred to the concept of a consumption threshold. This is something that is generally not a feature of high quality digital content, though Louis C.K seems to have found a balance between price and protection and he is succeeding despite those who are saying #screwyou to him. It's probably because he only tried to 'screw' relatively few people in the first place!

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25Nov/11Off

Maybe it’s because we’re less than human

A lot of reason has been lacking amidst all the stories about racism and racist comments by famous people in the media and especially in sport. I guess it shouldn't be expected that the majority of the mainstream media can eloquently state some of the issues surrounding race. In any event apart from the 'racism is wrong because it's wrong argument'; by way of tone a lot of the coverage has been indifferent. The comments of too many readers have been even more unsympathetic than is comfortable for any minority to read. At worst racism is still very much alive and at best too many people do not understand why its bad to insult someone by refering to the coulour of their skin.

Human zoo in Stuttgart, Germany, 1928

Human zoo

The major point that I believe has been missed is around the issue of why racism and hate speech is wrong. The belief that some people are inferior or even less than human has for centuries been the cause of some of the most atrocious crimes committed by humanity. Sadly those crimes continue today and it's significant that just as the headlines are riddled with stories of famous people racially abusing other famous people, the murderers of Steven Lawrence are once again on trial for their own horrendous hate fuelled crime.

The media really needs to put across to their readers how there is a direct line connecting the fact that some people are seen as less than human and the way they'll be treated by society. Whole sections of society have been killed, denied their rights, denied a vote and denied access to justice having been categorised as inferior.

Racist words by their nature are meant to spread the same message that has resulted in those great crimes. Standing by and paying no mind just means that another generation will grow up believing that we are not all equal and therefore it is okay to subjugate people of an 'inferior' race, gender or sex because well they are less than human aren't they?

22Sep/11Off

The stupidity of ad targeting

I've never been annoyed by online ads. I just never really pay any attention to them but the more interesting ones sometimes catch my eye. Whether it's because the targeting has been spot on and I am actually looking for that item or just it's plain eye catching. Consequently I've never installed an ad blocking plug-in in any of my browsers. Until today.

I signed up to GiffGaff (a new UK mobile network) about a month ago and did it from their website. I even managed to convince four people to switch to them, and guess what I get in return? My browser is now polluted with GiffGaff flash ads. WTF? Whose idea is this?

Preaching to the converted

Sadly enough this stupidity isn't just reserved for whatever network is running this campaign but also to Google who also try to get me using Chrome even when I'm surfing on their browser! So now I have been moved to install Ad Block Plus. No more dumb ads for me. Well.... except for the Google Chrome BS.

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