Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The greatest train wreck in the world

(Crotch light! That'll sell records...)

This video is so bad that I have watched it at least 5 times already.

Ray J, the talentless brother of washed up R & B singer Brandy, has a video on Launchcast where he covers "Clocks" by Coldplay.

That's right. Brandy Jr. covered Coldplay.

See it in all its shame/glory (glame or shory?) right here. Yahoo! log-in may be required.

Mr. J hops around with a screwface while air drumming/guitaring/piano-ing and convulsing, trying his best imitate Ashlee Simpson's SNL fiasco.
His overly melismatic delivery of Chris Martin's mawkish and mumbled lyrics actually clear up what is being said.
And that's not good.
In its original form you may not hear nonsensical 'lyrics' like "Shoot an apple off my head" and "Tigers waiting to be tamed." And I think I missed the part in the original where Chris Martin says "I don't think y'all feel me."
But now itÂ’s clear in all its oversung and nonsensical glory.

It always funny to see the shitty results of the utterly misguided crossover attempts of hip-hop artists. I barely got over Puffy's 1998 bastardization of Led Zep's "Kashmir" for the Godzilla remake when I had to deal with the recent Linkin Park/Jay-Z abomination Collision Course.

Not to mention the attempts of Ludacris and Sum 41 on SNL and Metallica with Ja Rule.

What is particularly enjoyable about this all is his self-importance. For a commercial artist who still doesn't have a gold record after three records, he is pretty confident that he is showing us some hidden side we have been waiting to see.

Nirvana Unplugged this is not.

Hilary Duff and Fifty, the ball is in your court.
Lil Jon and Paris Hilton already finished up their song...

Monday, November 28, 2005

New heights in retardation




This is not what the future was supposed to bring.

The guiltiest looking M&M's ever

(It was the blue M&M)

After an M&M float injured two sisters when it knocked over a street lamp at last week's 2005 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the company has gotten the family not to sue and has invited them to sit in the VIP section of the 2006 parade.

That's a big step up for the PR department, compared to the $395 million suit they settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 1997 when another parade float accident nearly killed a woman and sent her into a coma for nearly a month.

I would gladly take some debris to the head if I could get the middle ground between a $400 million suit and some front row tickets to the Macy's Parade.

Life long gift pass to the Men's Department perhaps?

I will add lamp post tampering to my list of Thanksgiving activities for next year.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Buy Shit!

It's good to see that Black Friday has successfully mixed the frightening fervor of an American Idol tryout with the experience of shopping at Wal-Mart, although I'm guessing there is a large overlap there.

I missed my opportunity to celebrate the only positive "black" event this year but I'll be sure to consume conspicuously next year.

Other proud black events I plan on celebrating.

The Black Death Anniversary Bash
Black Monday
Not to mention Black Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
And the OJ Simpson trial.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Snitch of the Week: 11/13 - 11/19

(Nigga, u guilty)

Donnell Nichols (not pictured), a former employee of the Murder Inc. record label, testified in court last Thursday that he saw drug money delivered to Murder Inc. in plastic shopping bags and shoeboxes and Ashanti CDs.

Well not the Ashanti CDs but that would explain how she sells so many damn CDs.

He was then brutally cross-examined by defense attorney Gerald Shargel, who attempted to portray Nichols as an unpaid, lying gopher with an Internet pornography addiction, spelling problems and a history of homelessness.

Damn Shargel!

Defense lawyers don't play around.

He was given thousands of fake dollars and told to fit them into a shoebox in a resurrection of Johnnie Cochran's "If it does not fit, you must acquit" shtick.

I don't know a damn thing about the character of this Nichols character but I know when you name your label "Murder Inc.," yourself "Irv Gotti," and your recording studio "The Crack House" and somehow mysteriously find yourself on trial for laundering money for a crack dealer you should probably be acquitted. At least on stupidity, if nothing else.

Donnell Nichols, for your brave testimony in the face of brutal personal attacks and more importantly, your helping get Irv Gotti into prison and Ja Rule out of music (at least for a little while), we here at Start Snitching give award you the Snitch of the Week.

It's Murder!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Snitch of the Week: 11/6 - 11/12

(U.S. intelligence, not so smart.)

In a bit of accidental snitching, often the best kind; Mary Margaret Graham, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and now the deputy director of national intelligence for collection revealed the nation's annual intellgence budget. The $44 billion budget, is a key figure for government spooks, who have been sued repeatedly in order to have have the budget revealed.

Her fellow colleagues were dumbfounded by her apparent gaffe.
"I thought, 'I can't believe she said that,' " Whitelaw said on Monday. "The government has spent so much time and energy arguing that it needs to remain classified."

Mary Margaret Graham, for your prime-time "whoopsie-daisy" in the face of increasing government secrecy, we here at Start Snitching salute you. We know it must be hard lying all the time.

Snitch of the Week: 10/30 - 11/05

A little late with the updates so I'm adding three "Snitch of the Week"'s back-to-back-to-back.

The first is a prime piece of million dollar snitching from Mark Russinovich's Sys Internals blog. For all those unfamiliar with the name, he is the person who discovered Sony's nasty little rootkit secret.

His report tore through the blogosphere, into the mainstream media and straight into the courtrooms.

Sony has already spent millions of dollars so far in contradictory press, (rootkits don't matter/we're sorry, they do) recalls of their CDs and the reprinting of rootkit free version of those CDs. Not to mention the torrent of law suits already in the pipeline from New York, Texas and Florida.

This will end up costing Sony tens of millions of dollars and an irreversible loss of tech chic that only releasing a Playstation 5 tomorrow, for free, directly to my house could mitigate.

The cost may have been worth it though. I heard kids were peddling that hot new Neil Diamond album like crack rock.

Mark Russinovich, for your keen computing eye and corporate back-breaking we here at Start Snitching salute you with our Snitch of the Week award.

Young Jeezy appeals to former crack dealers and middle-aged mothers alike

(I got that snow, man. Get it?)

My mother recently asked me to make a CD for her with "that song about the Soul Survivor."

Say it ain't so ma...

My very own mother sucked into Jay-Z's marketing scheme of signing ex-crack dealers and riding the Biggie wave.

Damn you, Young Jeezy!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Phones not to rob a bank with...

I've learned a lot from Candace.
I can't help but look at new cell phones and evaluate their utility in a bank robbing situation.

This perfume spraying phone may not be the one you want to go with after you finish casing the local HSBC. The $1,200 price tag may be out of the average bank robbers range, but if you are rolling out with style and want to leave your stylish signature at the crime scene this Hyundai’s MP 280 perfumephone may be for you.

It gives off a spray everytime it's opened and is refilled by syringe.


(Ugly, meet your mama)

In a perfect example of a design team not working well together, a Korean company released the PT-S170
, a phone that swivels, slides, flips and eats small children. Rob anything with this phone in hand and you will be picked out of a line-up before you reach your spot on the wall.

My little Candace, stupid and busted

So it turns out my bank robbing chica wasn’t really the criminal mastermind I hoped for and was more like the pimped out girlfriend I assumed she was.

Candace Martinez, age 19, was arrested with her 19 year old boyfriend and former Wachovia employee, Dave Williams.

What exactly does a student supposedly studying business administration in a North Virginia community college do after robbing a bank without a mask on her traceable cell phone?

Go on a shopping spree.

Along with a nearly $4,000 Circuit City receipt the police found a Sony PC, a digital camera, a printer, three Louis Vuitton purses and the box for a T-Mobile cell phone, which I can only guess was the Sidekick II.

God dammit Candace, you let me down.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ahh, it's that good ole white people idealism

(Me favorite slave trading pirate, argh...)

Straight from my high school of yore, which I think is currently operating with a black student population of about -7%.

In a NY Times article about the ridiculously counterintuitive grading system that allows a student with a 42% verbal/99% math score to be admitted over a student with a 92% verbal/ 97% math score, the principle, Mr. Teitel, said the school and its alumni would strongly resist using any criteria but the test for admissions. "One of the things they love about the school is that it remains a true meritocracy," he said. "You only get into Stuyvesant because you proved it on an exam."

So Stuyvesant High School, in New York City, with its 54% white and 79% Asian makeup (my numbers may be off) is a "true" meritocracy. Never mind that Upper East and West Siders begin training for the test at age 4 and that most of the kids in Brooklyn don't know about the test until the day before.

At least now I understand why so many students at Stuyvesant were brilliant in one field but incredibly retarded in oh so many others.

All praise the lopsided genius.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You are just like me!

From a NY Times article about the increasing amount of mulitmillionaires and billionaires running for office.

"Humility also goes a long way. 'Nelson Rockefeller would say to people, 'Thanks a thousand,' instead of, 'Thanks a million,' because it made seem more down to earth,' said Mr. Smith, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, who is writing a biography of Mr. Rockefeller, the former New York governor."

I just love it when rich ass white people try to seem down to earth.
And I love the people who fall for it even more.

On the other hand, these people are not so much like me and have no problem showing it.

White Settlement, Texas, a real town in Northern Texas have voted down a resolution to change their name to something a little less racist by a 9-1 margin.

Some residents are still confused as to why their town lost several large chain stores and has problems attracting new business.

Words of wisdom:

"At the counter in Ricky's, Konnye Wilkerson, 21, a cashier, explained: 'You shouldn't be afraid to be white. It's like showing we're not proud of our history.'"

"It's been this way for years, so why change it?" said Paris Ray, 37, an African-American entrepreneur who owns a store together with his wife, Maria Grieve, selling imported products from the Philippines.

I love it.

Texas, you get a pass on this one, not only because this is so great but because the Cowboys won on Monday night and Eva Longoria, proud Texas product, was on Conan O'Brien that same night.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Worst record covers ever

(It goes on...)

Pitchfork, a music site renowned for their indie-kid/better than you pretension has a feature this week about the Worst Record Covers of All Time.

I have lots of beef with Pitchfork. Most of it lies in the fact that their hip-hop coverage reeks of a prevailing "black people are cool" attitude that results in Cam'ron somehow being designated as "Best New Music."

But this feature is redemption. As a music nerd, I spend too much time digging for proper song tags, lyrics and album art. And with everyone bitching about iTunes/MP3 players killing the album format and the CD booklet/cover art combo it is a good time as any to see what abominations (dis)graced the shelves of that lost vestige called the record store.

The analysis of the covers is almost as good as the covers themselves but it's a long feature so if your eyes get tired, you can just look at the (not so) pretty pictures and laugh or shake your head. Or both.

Which is more ignorant?

Stupid Jordanian Muslims who blame Israel for the suicide bombings at three hotels that killed close to 60 people last week, even though native born Jordanian and current Iraqi terrorist mastermind, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for the bombings...


A stupid American President who claims that questioning of the war is evil, undermines troop morale and hurts small kittens even though the casualities continue to rise, terrorism is spreading from Iraq and the reconstruction have stalled?

It seems that the worst of both fundamentalist Islam and evangelical Christianity can agree upon the fact that severe denial, repression and avoidance of reality are the best ways to deal with the respective failures of Ummah, the idea of Muslim brotherhood that is supposed to prevent Muslim-on-Muslim crime and the war in Iraq.

P.S. We really should have held off on Iraq because Iran is seriously asking to be bombed.

"The explosions in Jordan are a suspicious matter. Most probably the Zionist regime (Israel) was behind them," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

How long will Israel listen to all of Iran's anti-Semetic rhetoric before they get all Old Testament on their ass?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sony Update: Still Shady, Now Getting Sued

(Go away, go away, go away)

Much like the Apple's iPod, Sony's rootkit saga hasn't gone away, despite all their clenched eyes and crossed-fingers.

It has been found that Sony has a special DRM for Apple computers that tries to install itself when you make he mistake of buying a (Sony) CD.

And California has stepped up to the plate and is the first party to sue Sony for this rootkit foolishness, with New York and Italy to follow. Sony has since suspended it rootkit CDs from production, but it's too late.

As a result of Sony's failure to disclose the true nature of the digital rights management (‘DRM') system it uses on its CDs, thousands of computer users have unknowingly infected their computers, and the computers of others, with this surreptitious rootkit. This rootkit has been responsible for conflicts within computer systems, crashes of systems, and other damage."

The suit, which accuses Sony of "fraud, false advertising, trespass, and violation of state and federal statues prohibiting malware, and unauthorized computer tampering," claims that the suspect software has been included on certain Sony BMG Music CDs since this spring.

I think I may just make way on over to Virgin Megastore, make a purchase and see if, I, um, happen to qualify for the lawsuit...

Look at the list of horrible, horrible music Sony has chosen to infect.

Ricky Martin
Celine Dion
Pete Seeger
Our Lady Peace

The list goes on...Perhaps this is a tough lesson from the music gods?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Busted: Ludacris sampled Will Smith

(Na na na, na na na na)

People in the cred-based world of hip-hop consistently rank on Will Smith, and with good reason. His inflated sense of hip-hop self-worth combined with his multimedia invasions (Hitch and its soundtrack; Wild Wild West and that damn Stevie Wonder cover with Dru Hill) are annoying as hell and nowhere as enjoyable and relaxed as his Fresh Prince persona of the 90's.

Yahoo! Launchcast randomly put on DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's hit Summertime. After all these years its still cheesy as hell, but it stands as an enjoyable example of what pop rap should be if done right (and not too often.)

Anyhoo, towards the end of the song, Will Smith says "Two miles an hour so everyone can see you"

And I thought were the hell did I hear that before? And then I remembered a chopped and slurred voice looping that line on that Ludacris song "Two miles an hour" from his 2004 Red Light District album.

It's a throwaway track "Dedicated to those who put more into their cars than their relationships," according to Mr. Cris. Luda was so motivated by Will Smith's two second line he turned it into another rote examination of the black car culture.

It's good to know Will Smith is single-handedly inspiring the Southern rap movement. Or something like that.

Will Smith Vs. Ludacris as the next big rap beef?
I made it a hot line, you made it a wack song...
I'm with it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Coolest bank robber ever?

("And I was like nuh-uh, and he was all like uh-huh, and I was all like...hold on a sec girl, gimme all your money please.)

Either she is the most brilliant criminal mind of our generation or she is the result of our society's inability to separate the cell phone from work and play.

A seemingly Hispanic woman has been robbing Wachovia banks in the
Northern Virginia area over the past few weeks while on her cell phone the whole time. Using a small box with a note demanding money taped to the outside and a handgun on the inside, she casually shows this to the teller and walks out of the store disinterested in the whole affair.

Blah, blah, robbing banks is wrong and all that, but I cannot help but be intrigued by this woman's non-chalance and motive. Is she being pimped out by her man or is she boldly raising the bar for all future bank robbers?

We shall know soon. Just don't go out Bonnie and
Clyde style when you get caught. Start Snitching has some questions.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An update on ignorance

A story on Yahoo! News today rehashes the details of the "Stop Snitching" controversy for all those not keeping score at home.
Even after all this time, it remains remarkably hard to read about the unabashed ignorance that has consumed so much of the black community.

The Source was quoted as saying,

"She didn't do anything. She didn't pull no guns. She just told a little fib,"

about Lil Lim's sentencing on perjury charges in its October issue.

And in July, fellow hip-hop magazine XXL promoted "exclusive interviews with hip-hop's incarcerated soldiers" and promised to publish a yearly "jail issue."

We all know these rappers are in prison for noble causes like inciting public protests without permits, running red lights to get orphans to the hospital and encouraging democracy in China.

What is truly sad is reading what people post in the "Discuss" section. E-bigots, who are free to rant and rave under the anonymity only the Internet can provide, post their most puerile racial observations while people try to respond with logic. I really don't understand this song and dance routine that is repeated throughout the Internet on almost every message board. Why don't black people combat the real problems in their community instead of trying to win over the hearts of racists?

The black bastards picture was album art from the mid 90's that represented the killing of the black stereotypical image so that blacks could move on from there. It seems like we are too busy making excuses for our worst behavior rather than change what it is people are seeing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jesus vs. Darwin: Round 2938


So the Pennsylvania school board that was recently sued for trying to teach creationism-lite, or intelligent design, as it is now called, along with evolution, was unanimously voted out of office in a display of how survival of the fittest works in the political science field.

I am still waiting to see the observable change in an intelligently designed cell. Is there a halo on its nucleus? Do the mitochondria output wine instead of water?

In other parts of the country, America's sad march towards worldwide irrelevance continues unabated. In Kansas, another school board voted 6-4 to make all their students even stupider. They also redefined the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. Seriously. It's all in the article.

Instead science is now solely concerned with cool things that don't stir up controversy, like laser beams, rocket cars and teleporation pods. Pew pew!! Zap!! Woosh!! Zroommm!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's Election Day! Cast your vote America!!!

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What? American Idol still hasn't started?
Oh, regular "governmental" elections...

Well then, in light of the New York mayoral race devolving into Bloomberg's personal contest to see how much he can beat his own $74 million 2001 campaign spending record by; I have decided to look for a meaningful outlet for my vote.
Bloomberg is as cool as the average multi-billionaire can be. When I saw him in person a few months ago during the early campaign season I could help but think,

"God damn, he looks rich as hell."

Yet he doesn't make you punch-him-in-the-face angry like professional snake oil salesman Donald Trump. He has a kind of winsome charm that almost made me O.K. with the bullshit answer he gave me about Wal-Mart in NYC and the fact that he could buy my family with his pocket change. He has eased racial tension in NYC and has an obvious liberal streak that has obfuscated his evil billionaire activities like billion-dollar stadium giveaways while neglecting the WTC reconstruction, mass arrests during the 2004 Republican National Convention and annoying ass ubiquitous advertisements. Bloomberg for Crown Heights ads annoy people when they aren't in Crown Heights. Not to mention the ethnic radio ads that always amuse me as they attempt to reach out to black voters. I know Magic Johnson endorses you and he played basketball(!!!) but he also has HIV, which leads me to believe he hasn't always made the best decisions in life.

The Democratic challenger, Fernando Ferrer, is thoroughly unimpressive and despite his undeserved endorsement by the NY Times in the Democratic primary, he managed to not to get their overall endorsement for mayor. How you can be endorsed for a primary but not the overall election is part of the NY Times new strategy to lose credibility.

So what to do in the face of a blow-out election with a voting buying candidate on one side and an inept candidate on the other?
Throw away your vote on a fringe candidate.
This is why Start Snitching endorses Jimmy McMillan

Of the Rent is Too Damn High! Party. As a Vietnam veteran and a retired postal worker who better understands the gritty realities of life.
And have you ever looked at rent prices in NY?
They're too damn high!

From the NYC Voter's Guide

1. What is the most important issue in the city you would address if elected?

RENT Is Too Damn High there is nothing else to talk about. All poor people are being ran out of New York

2. What other important issues would you address if elected?

RENT Is Too Damn High there is nothing else to talk about.

3. What makes you the best candidate for this office?

I am a Rent Activist with real solutions to the High Rent Crisis that is driving everyone out of this City. That is what makes me the best candidate for this job.

Get this man in office !!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Another idea I didn't think of...

Damn, damn, Goddammit, why the hell didn't I think of this first?

Alex Tew, a 21 year old English college student, set up a site called the Million Dollar Homepage where he sells, wait for it, one million pixels for a $1 each to advertisers. You really have to see this to believe it.

His goal was to raise some money for college so he wouldn't have to be in debt his whole life. As of writing this he has sold close to 600,000 pixels. Meaning he has not only paid for college five times over but he is pretty much rich.

I am a world-renowned and unparalleled hater, but I have to give this kid credit. In our culture of consumer whoredom where companies battle each other mercilessly for the oppourtunity to sell you shit, this kid has ridden the zeitgeist to economic freedom. Start Sntiching salutes you, you hustling Englishman.

What could they possibly teach him about business in college?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

OK, now this is just plain ridiculous...

Rebels Dressed as Women Attack Iraqi Police Station

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Published: November 5, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 5 - Insurgent attacks across central Iraq, including one in which the guerrillas disguised themselves as women, left at least 16 dead on Friday as Shiite Arabs across the country began celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan....

Straight from the NY Times, the rest of the article is here.

Clearly, it's just a matter of boredom now. Homo-hating Muslims doing cross-dressing drive-bys?
It's time to go home...

Please assimilate your immigrants

The block is hot in Paris.

After the "accidental" electrocution of two teenage immigrants while fleeing police, the seething rage of the African and Arab communities exploded into a series of fires and riots that has just entered its second week.

The fuel for these riots happens to be the same fuel that causes this situation in America. Alienated North African and Arab expatriates and first generation children, isolated in their neighborhoods by unemployment, poverty and crime (the omnipresent minority trinity) finally found the excuse to express their displeasure, so to speak.

The suburbs, which are often thought of as an American place for the rich to flee urban life, work a little differently in Paris, as they keep these naturalized ethnic minorities on the fringes and out of focus.

These same idle first-generation citizens the ones who pick up the deadly hobby of terrorist enthusiasm. Al Qaida doesn't even need to recruit anymore. The disillusioned flock to create their own junior varsity terrorist groups. The most recent suicide attacks in Bali and London were the result of people native to those countries who had no official ties to Al Qaida.

That's not good. What makes a middle class citizen bomb his native country?

Several months ago I saw a pair of the Northern African women in the early 20's walking along a fairly crowded street in Paris who threw their trash, a soda can and a wrapper, on the city street with immense disdain. The pedestrians who were closer and saw this commented briefly and shook their heads. These two women had the nerve to respond angrily to the complaints about their littering. I couldn't help the undeniable wave of racism and ill will I felt for these two women. Who were these two immigrants to liter the beautiful streets of Paris (the city is quite beautiful, not to mention clean) and if they disliked it so much, then why where they there? And if I hated them this much, in that instant, what the hell were the white people thinking? It couldn't be anything particularly pleasant.

Looking at this riot I couldn't help but wonder, in retrospect, if some their disrespect for the city was due to how disconnected they feel from the promised yet unrealized ideal of inclusion that festers throughout most of Europe.

Bullshit liberal symbolism?

Possibly, but still worth a thought.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Web hotness

  • An interesting way to look at airplane traffic. Occasionally the clutter and chaos of our everyday world can be made into something redeeming.

  • Yahoo! has updated their mapping service to compete with Google Maps, which has become the default map for many. It's a little slower than it should be and it uses Flash so some older comps may need to upgrade, but it has its own flavor, namely live traffic reports and it's only a Beta product so it will improve.

    And finally, a public service announcement

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    Yahoo! Music LAUNCHcast RADIO is pure crack. A few weeks ago when I posted on it, it was a mere infatuation. Now it is a full-fledged addiction. I'm talking about a rob your grandmother, steal a stroller with a baby in it type of addiction. I avoid work depending on what is playing despite the fact that I can pause it. I have no problems admitting this. I think that is the first step towards beating any addiction. But I don't need to beat it. I can quit anytime I want. I'm in complete control here man. Who cares if I changed my Internet Service Provider just to get the Verizon Yahoo! DSL package that offers you the LAUNCHcast plus for free? You wouldn't have done the same? I could have lived with the monthly 600 song limit, restricted song skipping, garbled sound and "The Man Show" ads on repeat. I could have.

    LAUNCHcast has single handedly revitalized my interest in music. I don't have the time or money to buy all the CD's I am interested in and commercial FM radio has definitely failed to sate this desire. So I combined my tastes and curiosity with Yahoo's! vast database of music and advanced selection algorithm to create the ultimate radio station.

    What is so exciting is the fact that your knowledge and diversity in music fuels recommendations that just your expands your tastes even further. The more you listen and rate, the better it gets. The better it gets, the less music you have to ban and more music you have to write down to look up later. Not to mention you can listen to other people's custom stations.

    Startsnitching is my Yahoo! station.

    Where else can you get some suprisingly hip-hop influenced late Miles Davis, a drop of Modest Mouse, a little "Rocketman" and some "Gimme the Loot" to almost get you fired at work when you sing along a little too loudly?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Damn Sony! In Junior High School You Were the Man Sony...

What the fuck happened to you?

It has been known for months now that Sony has been putting restrictive DRM (Digital Rights Management, a euphemism for Don't Rip Music) on their new CDs.So when you play a new Sony CD on a PC, you are limited to how many copies you can make of the CD, what media player you can use and which format you can rip the CD to. And now many Sony CDs won't work with iPods anymore.

Sony acts like this is a minor policy change while many artists speaking out against the policy. In response some of the artists on Sony's label, like Christian rock band, Switchfoot, have posted instructions of how to get around this nonsense. Jesus shares.

No one can argue against the pure stupidity of that new policy. But that wasn't enough for Sony. When click yes on their service agreement, Sony apparently installs a rootkit (a hidden program that monitors your habits) in your system that slows down your computer, and damages your CD drive upon removal. Here is the dumbass response from a Sony BMG representative as reported by CNet.

"The software could be easily uninstalled, by contacting the company's customer support service for instructions. Those instructions are not specifically available on the Web site that answers questions about the company's copy protection tools. "

That's what I really want to do after I pay $17.98 for a CD. So much for the risk of viruses from illegally downloaded music.

So let me get this, someone actually goes out and pays for an Alicia Keys Unplugged CD from Sony and they are monitored and shackled, but someone who snatches a Sony protected Carlos Santana album off of BitTorrent is free to copy and rip to their heart's desire? Maybe we deserve to be free from duplications of Alicia Keys music, but there has to be a better way to stop it.

It's sad that Sony insists on showing their irrelevance in the digital era after failing miserably in the transition from cassette and CD players to MP3 players. Alienate away Sony, Apple will gladly take all of the market share that they haven't already.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NYC Update

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A pictorial reminder of the budgetary priorities of NYC in regards to its emergency and municipal workers.

From the NY Times,

"The starting salaries of firefighters, currently $36,878, will drop to $25,100 for a 13-week period when firefighters train in the Fire Academy, and then increase to $32,700. Those salaries will rise to a maximum base of $63,309, up from $54,048."

So after three months firefighters make $32,700, opposed to the $25,100 cops and $26,000 garbage men start off at.

While I am all for firefighting and appreciate their role as emergency first responders, police cannot be kept at the bottom of the totem pole for long before the record crime lows in NY start creeping up again.

Use technology for good

  • Evil Lyrics is a must have whether you listen to unintelligible southern rap or annoyingly obtuse rock.
    Running in the background along with almost any media player, Evil Lyrics will pull up the lyrics to almost any song (the more underground the song, the harder it is to find) and displays it so you can follow along. The interface is a little raw but it does what it needs to do. It's good if you listen to more music than is healthy and don't have the time to decipher what the hell Juvenile is trying to say.

  • Weather Watcher is a good free program if you want to know what the damn weather is without the Weather Channel's adware telling you to sign up of for the Lonely Christian Singles club every week. It's fully customizable and stays out of the way.