Black Friday Zombies

Black Friday zombies rosslafferty (image by rosslafferty I think)

I’m saddened that the UK is starting to creep towards Black Friday fever – which makes little sense since WE DON’T HAVE THANKSGIVING! I bought a few things online, but Asda (owned by Walmart), Apple and I think John Lewis took part in the UK in retail stores – apparently in Wembley there was fights and pushing, which doesn’t surprise me as when IKEA at Brent Cross had a massive discount sale years ago hundreds turned up and people got hurt, and the infamous Edmonton riot.

Why are sales like this evil? Well look at these video from the fracas over some crappy TVs or DVD players. SMH. There has to be a better way than this sort of rampant capitalism and zombie style consumerism, fighting over what is mostly worthless junk because it’s cheaper? It seems to just bring out the worst in people. (via Madge Weinstein)

Hack the charts

Amazing talk from Peter Filimore, an Australia security researcher, investigating hacking streaming services like Rdio and Spotify to make his test albums #1 and also get royalties. Amazing how little security checks there are…and how funny the ‘music’ and albums he put up there was, and some of the responses to his ‘Troll Music’

Also a good primer on how to get your music out there on these services…but also a reminder that to treat ‘plays’ as with ‘likes’ very sceptically. (via SC magazine)

Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence does exist and is an evil that is hid in jargon such as optimum lifespan and product cycle…but certainly some products are designed to break. John had one of those iPods with the dodgy battery, and yes it failed just over year of constant use when I borrowed it – eventually started leaking in fact! From Nylons to printers, the lack of sustainable production and products is a serious problem…and yes Apple is one of the worst, making their products harder and harder to fix. So this documentary ‘The Lightbulb Conspiracy: The Untold Story of Planned Obsolescence’ is a must watch. (via Mikkel aka DJ MiF)

I saved myself £300 by fixing my own keyboard on this Mac Book Pro I am typing on – they said I had to replace the whole top, aluminium and all! How wasteful, and expensive. Where it turns out that the keyboard is easily replaceable if you look online (MBP 2010 17″ A297 keyboards can be replaced, for those Googling – follow the instructions for the 15″) but it’s a really fiddly job with nearly a 100 screws. I’m sure Apple doesn’t care about user serviceability just wants to sell more expensive parts, but that isn’t very good for the environment, and aluminium does not grow on trees. As said in the documentary, the internet makes a real difference in doing DIY fixes, but the companies make it quite hard – I skipped on fixing DJ Charles IV for instance after seeing how hard & fiddly it was.

Similarly it can have negative effects on the consumer – I used to support HTC who are now struggling, and I’m not surprised they are since I had my old Desire Z screen break 3 times – even when not dropped, it was really fragile. The repair place said they got that model in a lot, and it wasn’t a cheap phone, which suggests either some very bad design or more likely planned obsolescence. So I switched to Samsung which seem to create products that are durable – dropped mine a few times now and although the glass is cracked, it still works fine.

Although I have to say I’m not sure about the Phoebus Lightbulb example, as far as I can tell it’s a trade off between lifespan and light produced, but I’m sure like with GE and electric cars and trams, or RCA and FM radio further advances probably were stopped or ignored, like the East German long-life bulbs. Goes to show that the communists weren’t wrong when it came to resources, out of necessity of the cold war rather than choice, I hasten to add.

NSA PIXAR ident and other parodies

Love this…I’ve not spoken much about NSA or PRISM partly because I’ve made my position clear in previous posts over the years – and a lot of this was suspected, or rumoured for decades. And also when the legislation and previous acts came to light very few people especially those in the US seemed to care? SOPA/PIPA was the exception, whereas ACTA and others became common worldwide, and WTF with AT&T wiretapping becoming a shrug? It’s like you need kittens being killed before anyone will do anything. ever, or at the minimum US citizens being targetted by technology (drones, wiretaps etc) that have been happily used on those darn forinners for years. As long as the ‘bad guys’ get caught? I have news for you – we are ALL bad guys to them, the governments of both the UK and US have made it clear that everyone is under suspicion now.

Amazing how Apple, Google and Microsoft brazenly try to refuse having any knowledge when their systems have more backdoor holes than swiss cheese. It makes any of the claims promoting ‘secure’ cloud computing, ad campaigns about privacy or even spats over vulnerabilities pointless. When all the hackers need to find is the official ‘holes’ which will never be closed, why bother?

Quite ironic that Microsoft has a go at Google over privacy, given what we now know about them handing the keys to Skype, Windows, Outlook encryption to the government. And don’t think the silence about Apple means it somehow is less guilty, I notice they joined PRISM about the time of the roll-out of Mobile.me, Cloud and Facetime/iChat technologies? I’m sure they’ll be next. Whatever it is, it’s Party At The NSA!

I don’t see how I can trust these companies or their products ever again, their mouths are moving but I can’t hear anything except ‘We Sold Your Privacy Down The Line To Spooks!


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