Archive for the ‘Media old and new’ Category

Open email to Amazon

September 7, 2011

Here’s the text of an email I sent to Amazon‘s customer services, about my last-minute decision NOT to buy several albums of music from the store.

Having read the terms and conditions I have decided not to make a purchase for the following reasons:
1) I don’t understand what Amazon’s “right to withdraw” software means for my MP3 download. Does it mean that I can pay for a download and Amazon can, without warning, disable the download? If so, that sounds like a rubbish deal.

2) Ownership. I understand the restrictions on retransmitting and not sharing MP3s, but the statement that I do not own the download begs the question: what exactly am I paying for if I don’t own the download?

3) Cross border restrictions: I currently live in the UK, but I have lived in other countries and I may go and live in the USA. Am I supposed to destroy my UK downloads every time I go and live in another country? What if I spend half my time in the USA and the other half in the UK? Am I not allowed to keep one set of files? Seems very inconvenient.

Consequence: I have never yet bought any downloaded music. At £0.79 a track and my likely target of 1,000 pieces, that’s about £800 of lost business for Amazon. What benefit are you getting that’s worth annoying potential customers this much?

Kind regards,
Antoine Clarke

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The one where I defend Bill Gates

August 5, 2010

I believe it was Spike Milligan who once said “money can’t buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy.” He wasn’t accounting for envy.

Until the British general election in May, which saw off a government that seemed to be trying to combine all the worst aspects of incompetent socialism with the nastier instincts of fascism (racialist immigration policies, ever more puritanical and police-intrusive legislation), the British left had a nasty, but identifiable purpose.

Now it has none.

This article in the Guardian is the sort of dog vomit one would expect to see in an Ayn Rand parody of a collectivist newsrag.

Bill Gates is big enough and ugly enough to take care of himself (and I hasten to add, has never offered me any inducements to speak his mind). I’m writing this on an old Mac because I don’t trust the first billion copies of Windows 7 to be free of bugs.

(Would a free copy of Vista be a bribe or a threat, I wonder? Pleease, nooo! I’ll say what you want, but don’t put Vista on my poor laptop, noooo!)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also has its issues for me: it’s rather more politically correct than I would like it (but hey, it’s up to me to make $30 billion and decide how I spend it, right?), and with size and leverage, comes the power to make big mistakes, rather than smaller ones.

Specifically, in a region of an African country where the Gates Foundation chooses to back a malaria project, this will tend to dwarf existing efforts to, say, distribute a vaccine for schistosomiasis (the reason I won’t take my shoes or socks off in some parts of Egypt). The concern is that in the short term, the effect will be to incite most of the health workers to sign up for Gates’ campaign. (more…)

Headline news

December 28, 2009

I hope these story headlines from the BBC are NOT related news:

OTHER TOP STORIES
Labour MP dies after heart attack
Pope on first visit since assault
Six held on suspicion of murder
Cameron urges ‘good clean fight’
High-speed rail report expected
‘Simple’ anti-theft ads launched

The possibility that HH Pope Benedict XVI might have assaulted a Labour MP (who died of a heart attack), with six accomplices (including David Cameron) because simple anti-theft advertisements are launched to prevent the stealing of high-speed trains, would be disturbing, to say the least.

Twittering exchange

December 8, 2009

Yesterday, I spotted this Twitter update:
“Problem on Paris metro – no trains running – trying to find a taxi”
[name withheld]

The author, a Californian who believes in global warming, government provided health care and public transport (no, I am not making this up!) was in France to take part in some global social media event. To be fair, he is an expert in this field.

My riposte: “Welcome to the public option”

Thoughts on Twitter and Facebook

November 1, 2009

I’ve done a podcast with Brian Micklethwait about Facebook and Twitter for people who may not have worked them out yet (I know…).

Two thoughts I didn’t develop fully in the talk [link]:

1) Twitter is where the news is at and is the vehicle for creating newsworthy events. Two examples, the plane crashlanding in New York harbour and the Iranian protests over the recent election.

2) I don’t understand *how* these people used Facebook to link up. It doesn’t strike me that random paedophiles would set up a contact group on Facebook (What would it be called? How would members know who was a police informant and who wasn’t? Surely such a group would get spotted rather quickly I hope and its members investigated promptly?). I’m assuming that some other network is where such people first communicate and they then use the strong privacy settings on Facebook to exchange communications.

My point is that I can imagine how criminals might use Facebook to plan and coordinate criminal activities, but not how they would make initial contact. This matters because if I advise a parent that Facebook is broadly safe (and the whole point about the networks of friends and status updates is that a trail exists of where they are and what they’re doing, with whom), then it would be good to know what the real threats are and to expose them.

However, this was a tangent from the discussion so it was right of Brian to get us back on track with how ideas and news are spread through social media.

Brontosaurus mocks “endangered” elephant

June 18, 2009

According to TIME magazine: Facebook is for Old Fogies.

To which I can only comment: that’s like a brontosaurus calling an elephant “endangered.”

Hat tip: Ward Supplee‘s Twitter feed.

Oh, I almost forgot. TIME has a Facebook page (no link because some things are best left to die). I wonder if Facebook advertises in TIME. I’m guessing not.