Moan on Monday

Sep 03, 2012 No Comments by


This is a sort-of Fogey Friday.

Except it’s Monday.



A is for Vendetta

TF sat down to compile last week’s Fogey Friday and soon lost the will to type.  There are many enchanting aspects of technology and the digital realm but huge corporations facing off in court to protect dubiously granted patents is not one of them.  Apple sued Samsung and won in the US.  Samsung sued Apple and won in Japan.  In pretty much every territory where phones and pods and pads are flogged these two are at each others throats, lining the pockets of battalions of lawyers while making themselves look cheap, petty and childish.  Perhaps we should blame the underpaid serfs at the relevant patent offices for granting the various patents that became the focus of all this litigation.  It’s rather like Henry Ford being granted a patent that meant no one else could make a car with four wheels.  Being able to patent the curved corners on a smartphone is patently absurd.  And it will go on and on and on and you, dear consumer, will indirectly foot the bill.


Bruce Sues

Another Apple-related gem emerged in The Sun where it was reported that Bruce Willis wants to leave his ‘vast stash of downloaded tunes’ to his children when he dies, hard or otherwise.  But he can’t and neither can you.  Unlike a physical object such as a CD or LP, digital music or movie downloads don’t ‘belong’ to you. Neither do eBooks.  It’s all in that endless, life’s-too-short screed of terms and conditions that we tick to accept without even glancing at.  Not to be outdone and assuming that his various spawn actually want all his crap tunes, Willis is taking Apple to court.  Join the queue, Brucie.  He will lose, or course, but it does once again highlight the unconscionable tsunami of whinging that emanates from all those ‘owners’ of ‘rights’. It’s almost as though the only people who have no rights in the intellectual property extravaganza are the consumers who actually pay for the stuff.  The Sun’s snippet also mentions at the end that ‘no one at Apple was available for comment,’ but no one from Apple is ever available for comment.

And no sooner had our fingers skittered over the keyboard than it appears this entire story could be complete bollocks.  If you take Bruce Willis out of the paragraph the basic premise – that we don’t ‘own’ digital downloads – still holds, so maybe it’s not all bollocks.

It also shows just how quickly and completely a rumour can go viral.  Google ‘Willis sues Apple’ and the same hearsay is repeated over and over by dozens of ‘news’ sources.  And the source of all those sources?  Who can ever know?


Avast Me Hearty!

If hanging, drawing and quartering was still available as a punishment you can bet a dime to a dozen it would be visited upon Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the founding jack tar’s of The Pirate Bay.  In case you were unaware, The Pirate Bay is a website from whence millions and millions of thieving bastards (who should be shot, eviscerated, flayed alive, keel-hauled, made to watch Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, stoned, castrated etc etc….) illegally download quite literally millions and millions and millions and billions of films, TV shows and tunes thus destroying those three industries.  Except they haven’t.  Gottfrid’s piratical mates spent between four and 10 months in jail and were ordered to pay nearly $7m in damages to impoverished music and movie companies.  Anxious to avoid any time in the clink, Gottfrid upped anchor and fled to Phnom Penh.  Since owning a TV seems to be aspiration number one for many Cambodians you can see why they might want to suck up to the goggle box fraternity but since they have no extradition treaty with Sweden you have to wonder how soon it will be before Uncle Sam steps in – just to show solidarity with the poor cash-strapped luvvies in Hollywood, you understand.  And speaking of such cases, TF wonders how things are going for the self-publicising lard-bucket Kim Dotcom – the bloke who was arrested in New Zealand last year for similar high seas jinks.  Mr Dotcom seemed to have the cash to hire expensive lawyers so it would, we feel, behove him to chip in to the Gottfrid Svartholm Warg defence fund, seeing as how he pretty much owes his entire wealth stream to download sites of which The Pirate Bay is far and away the biggest.  One other small thing – in spite of its founders having been in prison, The Pirate Bay continued to be fully operational.  Apparently.


Talk of the Tabs

It’s a jungle out there and there’s a battle going on in it.  We’re talking pads, tablets.  It’s geek-eat-geek, Kindle-eat-iPad in the quest for world supremacy.  No one cares, of course.  Amazon is launching an updated version of its Kindle Fire in the US this week.  In the UK we don’t have any dated versions of the Kindle Fire so why should we give a shit?  Oh, but the launch of the Kindle Fire in the UK is ‘imminent!!!!’  Well, it is if you think imminency (is that a word…?) lasts a year or so.  And now there’s more blather about a smaller, cheaper iPad that isn’t an iPod Touch and will fit in your pocket so long as it’s the size of a saddle bag.  And will these momentous developments help save print media?  Oooooh.   To reiterate: no one cares.


Bought and Sold

And finally, here’s a slightly worrisome feature from the New York Times by David Streitfeld that investigates the dark arts that lead to unknown authors getting 5-star reviews on Amazon for their self-published drivel.  It’s well worth a read if you’re the sort of person who likes to have their opinion confirmed by a few glowing reviews of a book, film, TV show, album etc.  And let’s not think fakery doesn’t affect gadget reviews.  If you see a camera on Amazon and it has a preponderance of 5-star reviews, how many of those reviews are you likely to read?  Any?  Probably none; you just want a general idea.  And this dynamic is what allows unscrupulous approval-seekers to skew the odds in favour of their product.  Amazon tries to winnow out these shysters in the same way Trip Advisor tries to stop biased reviews and they’re probably equally successful.