chronovore: (Default)
I'm using an 8GB USB keychain drive for my Xbox 360 GamerTag account and some Rock Band content, so I can bring it to work and play during lunch without using up the company's 20GB HDD's storage space.

The 8GB unit was 3000 yen three months ago. I have been keeping an eye out for 16GB so I can carry more stuff around - I've got way too much Rock Band DLC, and I'd like to drag my music game data to my sister's place, so I can play there as well.

Locally the prices on 16GB USB drives has been unwavering in the nearly 6000 yen mark for months. Months. Today I've found myself scoping Amazon to order stuff to have it waiting for me at my sister's when I go to visit. It dawned on me that there may be a price difference. Lo and behold! Amazon's displaying really cheap prices. So cheap that I may even get a 32GB unit and enjoy the extra partition to sneakernet stuff from various machines and then use the 360's media features (sometimes my home wireless network appears asthmatic).

Japan really does ass-bash its consumer population. It's just nuts.
chronovore: (furious)
More fun in the new world: The place which advertised out-of-warranty iPhone repairs does not, for some reason, repair iPod Touch.

A long story, short: my iPod Touch headphone jack went flaky 3 weeks ago, which was 6~7 weeks past its one-year warranty. Apple wants 23,200 yen to give me a refurb unit, but recommended buying a new, same-capacity unit for 29,980 yen. Because of a 100 yen headphone jack. I have been pissed off since then.

Last night I called the US support line, and they reiterated the same policy: After 12 months, "it is a gamble" to own the iPod without extending the warranty through AppleCare, and the cost of my unknowingly cast bet is 199USD. This advice was not endearing.

During lunch today, I took a rushed trip by train to Nipponbashi to again visit the shop which had been closed on Tuesday. This time it was open, but the first thing the guy said was "Oh, this is an iPod. We do iPhones..."  He was helpful and gave the old college try to open the iPod, but the sucker-grip used for iPhone didn't work, and jimmying it with a guitar pick didn't have any more luck. He couldn't get it open and was worried about warping the case, especially since they didn't carry replacement cases. At this point, I'm considering shipping it to one of the US-based, third party repair places, then getting them to ship it to my sister, and having her bring it with her in June.

Also "at this point," I'm pretty sure that my current set of Apple goods are the last ones I will buy. Apple suggesting that a 13-month-old, 500USD piece of kit should be repurchased over a headphone jack, combined with the cascade of problems my refurb PowerBook had, with which Apple dealt so gracelessly, Apple is no longer the apple of my eye. My planned iPad purchase, my MacBook replacement for the still-ailing PowerBook, are no longer in the works. If Softbank gives me a free iPhone I won't refuse it, but I'm done sending Apple my money.
chronovore: (mouthy)
CNET News: Music publishers: iTunes not paying fair share (via /.):
Songwriters, composers, and music publishers are making preparations to one day collect performance fees from Apple and other e-tailers for not just traditional music downloads but for downloads of films and TV shows as well. Those downloads contain music after all.

These groups even want compensation for iTunes' 30-second song samples.
Apple's iTunes provides an otherwise-unusable 30 second clip as a free advertisement to promote the sale of the song itself, and the songwriters want a cut of the advertisement?
chronovore: (furious)
Who the hell do I complain to about the ads that are appearing on Xbox Live's Dashboard?

The Dashboard auto-loads the "Spotlight" channel which has, until now, limited itself to new game announcements, content, tips and strategies, community events, and in the non-game category, special Netflix offers or Xbox media-specific music and videos. All about the Xbox 360 and things you can do with it, no problem. Occasionally there are TV show and movie promotions for items which are not yet for download on the service, but they usually offer free gamerpics or themes for the 360; those are called presents.

The other day there was a item in it for Progressive Auto Insurance. Like a trained monkey, I automatically selected it to see if it had a contest or some DLC for it, or Forza or PGR DLC associated with it. But selecting it just played a low resolution TV advertisement. Nothing to do with games, nothing to do with Netflix or any other XBL-connected service. A TV ad hosted front and center on the Live service I'm paying US$50 a year for. What's next, unskippable advertisements?

Edit: Apparently SONY already had this great idea. I am speechless.
Thanks to [ profile] andrewv for the clue.
chronovore: (furious)
Slashdot | To Start Charging International Users: as announced on their official blog. Announced at the end of March, it was shortly after this that my 30 song countdown "trial" initiated after using the service off and on since April 2004. So to my comrades in North America, Canada, and Germany who could not figure out what I'm talking about, this is it. €3 a month would return's dubious playback features which rarely played the track or even the band I wanted, and music-matching inferior to's implementation. Now all I can use for is to figure out how musically incompatible I am with each of you.

Apr. 30th, 2009 03:20 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Huh. So's business model went from being "free, everywhere" to having "free, but not available everywhere" to "Enjoy 30 songs which aren't the songs you wanted to hear, but are related to the ones you like, because they're by the same artist, or similar artists... now that you've had 30 songs' worth, how do you feel about US$3/month to keep kind of hearing what you wanted?"

I'll poke around and see what I'm still able to listen to there. If they've shut off Friends' "radio" stations, promotional channels and all that, I'm going to be impressed with the level of stupidity.
chronovore: (furious)
Obama vows to reform monstrous tax code | Reuters:
As a counterpoint to Obama's defense of his policies, protests were held in Washington, Chicago, Boston and other cities. Organizers said the protests were inspired by the 1773 Boston Tea Party rebellion against British colonial taxes, which helped spark the American revolution.

The "tea party" protesters demonstrated against taxes, government bailouts and Obama's budget proposal.

Rallies were planned at state legislatures across the South, the most conservative region of the United States. In Mississippi, around 2,000 people gathered on the steps of the state capitol in Jackson.

"Our biggest thing is to protest the overspending of our government. They are not looking at the people. They are just automatically dipping into our pockets," said Julia Hodges, an organizer of the Tax Day Tea Party in Mississippi.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Octuplets stun doctors at California hospital | Reuters:
By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California woman shocked doctors by giving birth on Monday to octuplets, believed to be only the second set of eight babies born in the United States.

The six boys and two girls were doing well and were in stable condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, said Dr. Karen Maples at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower.

But two needed some help to breath with ventilators, she told a press conference.

The eight babies were born nine weeks prematurely by Caesarean section over a five-minute period, stunning a 46-member medical team that was expecting only seven babies.

They weighed between 1 pound 8 ounces (680 grams) and 3 pounds 4 ounces (1.47 kg) and doctors initially identified them by the letters A through H as they were born.

"We decided to proceed with the delivery in anticipation of seven babies. We had done some drills, some preliminary dry runs," Maples said.
Read more... )
chronovore: (mouthy)
Copyright Czar's Fate in Bush's Hands; Veto Looms | Threat Level from
President Bush is opposing legislation creating a so-called copyright czar and might veto the measure.

The House on Sunday sent the president the "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act," (.pdf) a measure the Senate approved Friday creating a cabinet-level copyright czar charged with implementing a nationwide plan to combat piracy and "report directly to the president and Congress regarding domestic international intellectual property enforcement programs."

The White House successfully lobbied the Senate to remove language tasking the Department of Justice with suing copyright and trademark infringers on behalf of Hollywood
, (emphasis mine) remainder of article behind cut )
What, seriously, the congress approached the executive branch with a proposal that government money should be spent suing "pirates" instead of the copyright holders? This whole song-and-dance about how piracy is destroying Hollywood and the record companies doesn't stop them from making money, and the losses they report are about as realistic as Fantasy Football; it's all about "what IF all those college students actually BOUGHT the music on those hard drives...?! We'd be more richer!" And apparently they've managed to convince congress that the government needs to pursue their own constituents more fully on behalf of big media. Good christ.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Press Gaggle Via Conference Call with Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto on the Economy:
Q: I'm just trying to reconcile two points here. On the one hand, you said that there are a lot of members who rightly have questions and acknowledge that this is obviously a huge package, but on the other hand, you've emphasized several times that it's critical that it be done quickly this week and that it be done clean. You know, for lawmakers who are -- I guess I'm asking, isn't there something to be said for being careful beyond the urgency and the haste? Is there a concern here that maybe the administration is being heavy-handed?

MR. FRATTO: No, well, look, I think I would reconcile it this way: This is -- this was not a program that was conceived of or put together hastily. There was an enormous amount of analysis and debate and discussion before we came forward with this program. I think we have anticipated a lot of the questions that members of Congress would naturally have about taking this step, but we have had -- some of the policy staff have had months to think about what a program like this would be like and how it would work. Others have had at least weeks to think about it. Members of Congress have had days to think about it. And it's very, very complex and takes time to think through all of the implications of it and why some alternative ideas might not work as well as this one. [emphasis mine]
Thanks to [ profile] tsanders for this one.

Why the hell is this something that has been in the works for months, and only now being used as a means of generating fear and trying to hustle an inherently flawed bailout through to approval? Or did I just answer my own question?

I need to read up on the bailout. I think we're about to close the deal on something less stupid than was in the works previously.
chronovore: (mouthy)
"The point is this is one of the most important irrevokable economic decisions we will ever make. Let's make it in a state of panic."

— Stephen Colbert
I'm angry as hell right now. The economy is swirling down the toilet, and the "bailout" plan looks a lot like an untraceable means for the Neocons to give themselves and their friends a sweet exit package (Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.), a la the million-dollar executive bonuses paid out to the leaders of companies as they go out of business. To top it off, McCain is bolstering the "critical importance" of this bailout by withdrawing from his campaigning for now, which to probably 1/2 the USA must look like he's rolling up his shirt sleeves and looking to solve a problem. To me, it looks like he is saying, "Guys, I'd love to fight you all, and I'd kick your ass, but I hear my Mom calling me home."

Save the debates. Sign this petition:
to send this message:
Dear Debate Commission:

Now more than ever, it's crucial that the two candidates for president tell voters how they will address our nation's problems. Senator McCain's attempts to postpone any debates must be flatly rejected. The election is too close and too much is at stake.

Changing the debate schedule would be a huge disservice to the country. Please keep it intact!
More linky-dinks for y'all, from various sources:
25 Harshest Reactions to the Bailout
The 32 Words No-One May Utter - the dirty secret of the bailout
chronovore: (mouthy)
Record labels seek more action on Rock Band and Guitar Hero - Los Angeles Times:
The firms deserve a bigger piece of the profit from music titles, Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. says.
By Michelle Quinn and Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers ; August 18, 2008
Many music industry executives facing a CD sales slump love the sound of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The video games have millions of followers who memorize every note of songs so they can jam along -- and they often buy the original version of their favorites. In addition to the publicity, the record labels get licensing fees from the game publishers.

But not all music industry executives are singing "Hallelujah."

Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and chief executive of Warner Music Group, recently grumbled that the record labels deserved a bigger piece of the spoils from the games' success.

"The amount being paid to the industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content that we own and control, is far too small," he said during an Aug. 7 earnings call.full article behind cut )
I'd have a lot more sympathy for the record companies' whining about revenue sharing if (a) they were also talking about sharing the spike in music sales after inclusion in Guitar Hero or Rock Band with the game's creators (it's a two-way street, beyotch), and (b) were actually benefiting the "content creators" such as the bands themselves rather than trying to vampirically lock on to a new revenue model, or (c) were actually contributing something to the game development community. What they're talking about is how unfair it is that someone else figured out how to use their (legally licensed) IP when the RIAA has been focusing on making it as difficult as possible to do anything new with their music. xposted to [ profile] gamers


Jul. 9th, 2008 06:15 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
Wired News - AP News:
Seeking to play down the effects of global warming, Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed to delete from congressional testimony references about the consequences of climate change on public health, a former senior EPA official claimed Tuesday.

The official, Jason K. Burnett, said the White House was concerned that the proposed testimony last October by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might make it tougher to avoid regulating greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
Honestly, I would not be surprised if Dick Cheney tore off his own rubbery face at a press conference, and revealed himself to be one of those lizard people from that TV science fiction series, "V."
chronovore: (Default)
I'm so out of touch with what's going on in America, I didn't know that the Writer's Guild strike has been over since February.

I just assumed my copy of "TV" was no longer downloading because the strike was still going on. And now apparently there's an actors guild strike?


Jun. 16th, 2008 06:49 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
MPAA wants to stop DVRs from recording some movies:
MPAA has pressed its Petition for Expedited Special Relief on behalf of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers. How did these media companies get an FCC proceeding so fast? Ars bets that hiring former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy as their attorney helped. Abernathy supported former FCC Chair Michael Powell's drastic relaxation of the agency's media ownership rules in 2003, along with Kevin Martin, now head of the agency.

Movies go through a timeline of staged releases that lasts about three years. First they go to theaters; 60 days after that they start showing up in airplanes and hotels; in 120 days from their theatrical release they transfer to DVD and Internet download; about a month later to video on demand/pay-per-view; by the end of the year to premium subscription systems like HBO and Showtime; and eventually to basic cable and free TV.

MPAA says these studios want to release their movies to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) "significantly earlier and prior to DVD release"—although the trade groups' filing won't say exactly how much sooner. But in exchange for the accelerated service, MPAA wants permission to obtain SOC blocking of recording capabilities. The group promises that once said movies have reached the home video sale/rental stage, the blocking will stop. (remainder of article) (via /.)
I know there's a bunch of you who think Cory Doctorow's a loudmouth, but he's got one thing right about DRM and copy protection: nobody wakes up and says to themselves, "Gee, I really want to do less with my media today." And that's all this is about; the MPAA wants to be able to restrict your ability to use the technology you bought in a way that you've already been using it. Horse puckey.

I'm going back to books. Well, videogames and books.
chronovore: (mouthy)
This morning I woke up to a contact's link to Animation World Magazine, Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art. My first thought was, That doesn't sound right. That just sounds alarmist and scary, though there certainly is a lot of MAFIAA behavior that would qualify as scary and dishonest. When I read through the article, it seemed to largely be about "orphaned works" (wikipedia) - this is particularly an area where I'd like to see copyright reform begin to take effect. After all, there are heaps of works out there where there is no clear ownership of the original work, so using it is questionable and generally legally inadvisable. However, because of the cooling effects of copyright law, these works may fade entirely away; they're not in print, they're not being maintained and there's no positive result from trying to save them, only perceived potential for litigation.
“As the Copyright Office said in its notice, the evidence suggests that a large number of works may fall into the category of orphan works. We consider it extremely important, not only for the artists who are creating new work today, but also for the ideas created in years past, that orphan works be made as widely available as possible.

"The greater availability of orphan works will provide a new and valuable source of inspiration for writers, film-makers, musicians and artists generally. (Save Orphan Works)
I am not sure where the author thinks that work which is readily attributable to him will legally become open fodder for Disney and Halliburton, but that's not what orphaned works are really about. So I went looking for examples to counter this guy's perspective. It turns out, there's been a minor firestorm over this in teh blogospherez today, and at least one person has written up what's fundamentally wrong with the positions expressed in the AWM article: read Six Misconceptions About Orphaned Works for some common sense and insight. [via boingboing]
chronovore: (mouthy)
Wired News - AP News: (via [ profile] chernobylred )
Terry Hartle, vice president of the American Council on Education, which represents higher education in Washington, said the mistakes showed the entertainment industry has unfairly targeted college campuses.

"Illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing is a society-wide problem. Some of it occurs at college s and universities but it is a small portion of the total," he said, adding colleges will continue to take the problem seriously, but more regulation isn't necessary.
Man, the MAFIAA is a society-wide problem, in my opinion. How much of the world's time have these idiots wasted based on their own-funded studies which THEY can't even be bothered to correctly interpret? I think if I were a college network admin, I'd have my own list of concerns about limiting bandwidth per user, but I don't need some hollywood lawyer asshat to tell me that.


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