Senate dumbass calls for censorship.

Nov 18, 2004 | | 0 comments |

The videotaped shooting of a Fallujah combatant by a U-S Marine has evoked strong emotions in the Arab world and on Capitol Hill. Texas Democrat Sylvestre Reyes says it's time to rethink the presence of embedded reporters in combat zones. During a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Reyes compared it to a football game, saying "we don't want to know everything that's going on on the field." Reyes says this is not censorship. In his words, "We should not be providing the Al-Jazeera the kind of propaganda they've had the last couple of three days."

First things first. Obviously this story had to be about a Texan. The illiteracy of this goon is staggering. "The Al Jazeera" ? It's not "The", it's "Al Jazeera" - that is a TV network you idiot. Then "couple of three days" ? So that's six days is it? Or do you mean "two OR three days" ?

This guy clearly favours censorship and would prefer that people back home didn't get to see what was going on. I think he'd prefer that we all thought the soldiers were giving out roses and fluffy toys, and that all that nasty "killing" stuff just happened as a side-effect of bombs dropping off aircraft by accident. Well Mr Reyes. To use your vernacular. Just because it aint not shown on that TV don't not mean it aint happenin'.

Rupert Murdoch begins the demise of TiVO

Nov 17, 2004 | | 0 comments |

And so the predicted wholesale looting and raping of the American TV viewing public begins. Rupert Murdoch, owner of DirectTV and biggest contributor to the pockets of TiVO has forced them to remove their commercial-skip facility and replace it with popup-advertising during fast-forward. So rather than being able to skip 30 seconds, TiVO owners will now be limited to an 8x fast forward, during which time they'll be pumped with popup adverts.
Jebus I'm glad our DVR isn't a TiVO. After all - commercial-skip is the number one reason to own a DVR. In the Yahoo article, they mention that 92% of DVR owners have their boxes exactly because of commercial-skip. That should tell the TV broadcasters and advertisers something : we don't like shows chopped into 8 minute segments and we don't want to sit through irritating adverts for stuff we never buy.
Apparently that message isn't getting through though.
So long TiVO - we knew you well.

The FCC are loons

Nov 16, 2004 | | 0 comments |

This political correctness and hypersensitivity to nakedness on TV is going too far. Today, ABC Sports apologized for an "inappropriate" opening of the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football, involving a sexually suggestive locker room meeting between Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and ABC's Desperate Housewives' star Nicollette Sheridan. In the taped segment, Sheridan drops a towel and is shown from a rear angle unclothed down to the lower part of her back. After Owens says, "Aw, hell, the team's going to have to win without me," Sheridan jumps into his arms.

So now it's not even acceptable to see a naked woman's back? Oh come on you people! Don't be so freakin sensitive! It was a woman's back. Not her bum, not her tits, not her genitalia. Her freakin back! ABC - don't apologise - in fact, re-run the segment every opportunity you get. And FCC - go screw yourselves. You're turning into the gestapo fining people left right and centre for nothing! Jebus - go get a couple of tapes of Dutch, French or German TV if you want to be offended. What's being shown on American TV is about as inoffensive as little pink fluffy bunny rabbits.

Hiding an asinine law in the lame-duck senate sessions.


During the senate's "lame-duck" session that begins this week, they might be about to vote on HR2391, the Intellectual Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that will make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill also plans to undo centuries of "fair use" - the principle that gives people the right to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask permission or pay.
The bill lumps together several pending copyright bills including HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, which would criminally punish a person who "infringes a copyright by ... offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement." That vague language basically makes it illegal, for example, to use Apple iTunes or to even own an iPod.

But the best part is this : using technology to skip any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited. That means that everyone who owns a DVR or TiVO, who uses it to skip commercials, is going to become a criminal.

No - wait - that's actually not the best part. The best part is the inclusion of the "Induce" act whereby any technology manufacturer who manufactures a device which could induce someone to steal copyright, will be held accountable and charged with copyright theft. That includes VCRs, DVRs, video cameras, tape recorders, DVD recorders, CD recorders, and if you read the wooly wording, pencils and paper.

And finally, under the proposed law, people who bring a video camera into a movie theater to make a copy of the film for distribution would be imprisoned for three years. Well it's nice to see those terrorist criminals are going to be dealt with accordingly! After all it's not like there's any real problems in the world to worry about.

The person behind this bill is Republican Lamar Smith, from Texas, obviously. And who are the main supporters of this Bill? Who do you think? The RIAA and the MPAA, natrually. Satan's left- and right-hand organisations.

I can't believe that the Senate is seriously considering wasting their time on this Bill. It serves no purpose other than to vindicate the RIAA and MPAA, it's unpoliceable and it will alienate just about every electronics manufacturer and user.
Hell - if you go strictly by the word of the Induce Act, it's illegal to use your eyes to view a movie, remember it with your brain, then write about it afterwards. In fact, my copy/paste at the top of this entry from the Wired news site has basically made me a criminal now.

Will the RIAA and MPAA never learn? What is it going to take for these morons to finally figure it out?

"Convenience" fees and debt.

Nov 15, 2004 | | 0 comments |

Whilst I was wandering the aisles of my local Hollywood Video store this weekend, it struck me why their "MVP" subscription service is such a hit. Bascially, you pay $14.99 a month and certain DVDs are free if you're in the MVP club. "Certain" DVDs. Never the new ones, and almost never the popular ones. It's a clever trick because people will be gullible enough to think they're getting stuff for free after paying their membership. And once that membership is automatically going out once a month from their bank accounts, it will get forgotten about. In the consumer's eyes, "FREE" reigns supreme. So I did a little calculation. Over the last couple of weeks, I've rented a few movies - more than normal - and only one of them was in the MVP free movie category. Had I been in the MVP club, I'd have effectively paid $14.99 for one rental, and $2.99 for the rest. Clever. "FREE" is the lure, and then the bait-and-switch is that no popular movies and no videogames count.

God forbid you should think for yourself.

Nov 14, 2004 | | 0 comments |

The last vestiges of personal responsibility are being swept neatly away back in England, with the introduction of a ban on fast food advertising before 21:00 on TV. This is a pilot scheme. What will follow is "traffic light" colour-coding on all foods, followed by a ban on selling fast food after 21:00. This is all, apparently, in a bid to cut down on obesity.
It's obvious right from the start that it's a scheme thought up by politicians. The first, and most obvious question is : how are they going to police a ban on fast food after 21:00? Are they going to appoint a Cholesterol Tsar? Is he going to hire hundreds of thousands of people to travel around every night making sure those evil kebab vans are not operating? Of course not - don't be ridiculous. This scheme can never work, ergo there must be a financial benefit in it somewhere.
Digging through the fine print, there it is : fines. Ah yes, the light dawns. They'll introduce a ban, knowing full well there is no way in hell of policing it, then just fine every fast food chain knowing full well they all stay open until after 21:00.
It is, in fact, a fat tax.

As for the colour coding - another idea obviously thought up by the stuffed shirts in government. Red = bad, yellow = ok, green = good. Great. So what do you do with tomatos - an intrinsically red vegetable which is extremely good for you? Stick a green sticker on it?