I was aware that the DVD standard was created by hardware manufacturers who created it with the intent of selling DVD players to consumers that would otherwise continue to use VHS. I did not know how adamantly they wished to protect their standard until I got my DVD reader as a present for Christmas and wanted to make it work.

As I eluded to, there have been many court cases which are beyond my ability to follow them, including a 16-year old (from Norway who’s been recently acquited, only to get himself into a different variety of trouble… look up a piece of code called QTFairUse if you care, thanks to lazarusrat) that had his computer and cell phone confiscated as evidence to use against him in court. He was set free and I believe is waiting out the appeals process.

I find it very disturbing that multiple governments (and not just the USA!) think that preventing a teenager from watching movies outside the liscensed means is worth imprisonment. The ability to play records and watch movies is really not that important in the grand scheme of things.

The nature of the protection and liscensing on DVD does not allow for its most appropriate use, from my point of view- the disassembly of live concert video so I can listen to them as ‘live albums’ while I’m travelling. Not impossible, but deliberately made difficult. If it was an obvious application from the beginning of the standard appearing, I might have owned a DVD in 1998 instead of 2003.

I don’t think it’s right for hardware companies to direct the future of software now. Software is way behind what proposed, unreleased computer hardware can do, so maybe the software guys should be coming up with the standards for the hardware guys to live by for a while?

Thank you all for your comments. I didn’t realise how much material I wrote until I saw all the amazing comments coming through… can’t thank you all enough.

compassion: This isn’t the first time I’ve misinterpretted somebody, so thanks for your patience and understanding. I’ve had the weekend off so I’ve been able to kinda chill myself back into the post-holiday ordinary time… we’ll know if I’m over it when I get to work tomorrow.

Dim Sum is miles ahead of the quality of any Chinese buffet. I just compare it conceptually for convenience.

As far as things go, I’m actually very fortunate, my life could be much worse than it is for now. If things were even slightly different for me, I could very well be living in a shelter, or … I don’t know, I’m just lucky everything’s relatively stable for me.

lazarusrat: Yes, it was exactly the same place we all ate at whenever ago, and in fact, it was even better this time… and not as expensive as I first thought, either…

When I said failure I meant from the socio-economic, steretypical point of view. If I try to buy a car, all the salesman sees is my credit report, and you know he’s thinking loser, or perhaps in the sense of trying to take some woman out and suddenly I have to explain I’m so broke that I live with somebody else’s mom… It rarely bothers me, and I understand that the reason is because a lot of people that borrow money and never pay it back actually are dangerous and irresposible people. It’s just something I have to live with now.

Londo: I went to Berklee College of Music (in Boston, as opposed to UC at Berkley, California… should be easy enough to tell apart but people still get confused…) My student number is #203908 (when you get your number, you keep it forever! Famous people in the newsletters are referred to by their number as well as name, and the numbers are given out in order of original registration, making me the 203,908th student of all time) my major was called ‘Songwriting’ which means I studied the art of writing pop music, and my principle instrument was piano.

It’s not so easy for me to go back, if I did, I’d have to retest for my core classes (they only keep your credits for two years) and though I think I’d test into Harmony 4 and a higher Ear Training, it’d be a pain to start the whole track over again… I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth to return.

vertigo_josh and boo_2, thank you.


The misquote is paraphrased from a song DJ Culture by the Pet Shop Boys; their take on the original USA vs Saddam conflict.

This story comes from a long conversation with a friend.

Although this is a distance from the truth right now, it is safe to say that in the very near future every adult human being and even most teenagers will carry a wireless telephone. It may even be required- you may or may not be aware of the borderline Orwellian GPS technology that must appear in all modern wireless phones so that your location can be tracked in the event of a 911 call; if you carry such a phone you are traceable to about a city block, subject to wiretapping and search and seizure law.

As cheap as the technology has become to make, it would be easy to require such devices for all adults, and reminiscent of the motor-voter law, it would be just as simple to general-issue a pager with both GPS and simple messaging with yes/no or multiple choice replying to anyone that cannot afford to have a wireless phone for whatever reason, issued when you go to get your driver’s license or state ID renewed.

Under extreme lobby pressure from companies such as Motorola, Nokia, Sony, and Matsushita (Panasonic), after some hearings with software designers from Sun, Cisco, and Microsoft, a petition headlined with the name Richard M. Stallman, and a letter read aloud from Linus Torvalds, the amendments that took the law-making powers away from Congress and the state Legislatures were ratified. The remaining powers of Congress are simply to introduce and debate bills, redrafting them until they are introduced to the public in referendum. The presidential power of veto is now obsolete, the people have even taken some executive powers, having final say in many military decisions as well, even cabinet appointments and Justice appointments go to referendum for final approval.

Every morning when you take your phone from its charger, you typically have a question or two waiting for you. This morning it’s ‘Approve expansion on Illinois 53 to merge with US 12 north of Crystal Lake? (Yes/No/Decline)’ for what must be the hundredth time. Again, you push ‘yes’ in frustration. Who keeps voting down this thing? It takes long enough to get to work as it is…

The news drones on while you spread the cream cheese on your bagel. It appears Justine Spears (Justin and Britney’s 11-year-old lovechild) had her song go to number 1, which nowadays means her track is the most downloaded in the country, or the world, you weren’t paying that much attention while you were putting the bagel halves together. Since the recording industry retooled itself for the Information Age, they’ve decided that the sale of media is no longer profitable. They’ve all gone into merchandising for famous artists, selling T-shirts and the likes, and are now jealous of the tour promoters, who make most of the money they don’t anymore. Time-Warner purchased Mattel, granting them exclusive rights to create dolls of Justine’s likeness. T-shirt and poster sales aren’t too shabby either, and there’s recently been a crackdown on people photoshop-clipping her face onto Maya 3d-rendered naked bodies, putting her through an edited aging process so you can pretend she’s reached the age of consent. There are even some law suits pending against a couple of ‘artists’ who have placed her face on a computer generated naked body of the same age.

You don’t actually know anybody that’s heard her song as it was originally recorded. Copyright law was scrapped and rewritten five years ago so that exclusive copyrights as they used to be known are rescinded upon public release. The present copyright law, historically voted into law two months after wireless referendum went into effect and introduced by a petition headlined with the name Richard M. Stallman, extends fair use to allow any art to be copied freely provided that all the artists that worked on it are credited. The federal felony of Plagiarism carries up to 12 months prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Justine’s nasal vocal is most often sampled and used in House music parties. You’ve even been working on a piece with her voice in the foreground, but you don’t like it. Maybe there’s something wrong with the beat, it needs more, or less, of something… Or you should just mute her voice. It’s just a cliche, now, anyway.

Your telephone vibrates at your hip. ‘Lift economic sanctions against People’s Republic of North Korea? (Yes/No/Decline)’ This is a tall order. It’s been a while since somebody’s found them threatening, but who knows if they’re still developing weapons in secret? Dissident folks like to think they’re causing trouble, planting homemade bombs in places where people they don’t like for whatever reason work or reside. You press ‘Decline’ thinking you better read the bill when you get home tonight. If enough people are as uncertain as you, there will be more ‘Decline’s than ‘Yes’es or ‘No’s, and it will come up for vote again tomorrow.

There’s still the campaign to end world debt. Bono may have white hair, but he’s aged into quite the politician. Countries in Africa and the Middle East have diseases spreading infectiously that are cured easily in the West, including but not limited to sexually transmitted diseases as potent as HIV and a number of airborne respiratory viruses, all solved for the ‘developed’ world by DNA/RNA studies made in Finland and Sweden.

You arrive at work, greeting some faces as you make your way to your cubicle. Before logging into the telephone system, you decide to start by answering email questions which have backed up over the course of your time off. You should have them done in a matter of a half an hour, any longer and you’ll have to answer the emails while you’re logged in the phone system, answering those questions as well. The person across from you was let go last week because two days ago she was late logging into the phones, and yesterday she logged into the phones, leaving her queue full of unanswered mail. You’ll have none of that.

The emails are answered quickly and you log in, ready to take calls in a matter of five minutes. Oddly, there’s nobody waiting in the queue. A few hours pass, no calls. You check the news on your PC console out of boredom.

“Explosion destroys Starbucks Tower in Seattle, thousands missing, presumed dead.” Moving live footage of rescue workers sorting through rubble, people shocked, miserable, scared… A map. “Intelligence indicated the possibility of this strike originated from a terrorist group… We’ve seen their basecamp, we know exactly where they are, and where their ringleader is…” Your phone vibrates… ‘Approve use of tactical nuclear weapon against terrorist base? (Yes/No/Decline)’

This is based on the question I asked my sociologist pal while we were talking about this kind of voting system- ‘What if that question came up at 3pm on September 11, 2001? Would you say yes?’

See you next time.


7 thoughts on “

  1. The whole government control thing pisses me off to no end.  I wrote a paper in college about three big proposals that the goverment is in the process of passing.  There are of course smaller ones too, most of which freak me out.  But to make a long story short, the FCC is regulating the shit out of manufacturers of devices such as DVD and CD burners, and even against regular DVD and CD players.  I can see making a law against burning equipment… they want to know what you’re burning… that’s on the edge of what I call comfortable… they are now taking it a step further and saying that devices that decode CD and DVD [players in other words] have to transmit to a third party what you are decoding [watching].  Thus accumulating evidence in such cases as your 16 year old boy.  I hate the damn government… being the complete computer nerd I am, I hate the feeling of being controlled.  It’s bad enough they created spyware for computers, which; though I know how to get rid of; scares the shit out of me. 
    “F*ck the corporate world bi*ch” ~Rappers always know how to put it best for some reason…


  2. The DVD world IS just a sampling of our future and why I held off as long as I did getting a DVD player.  The tracking devices already in phones and cars are why I have neither.  Did you know that there are the very same type of devices for animals and newborns?  This is a case of “let me live blindly” because the future is too controlled, too scary and too black and white.  Great blog!  Infinite Blessings


  3. DVD-Jon (the Norwegian you call a Swede) is totally in the clear as of today. The prosecutors had one appeal left, and they’ve announced they won’t pursue it. Norway’s courts have finite appeals.Cool vignette. Certainly a better way for things to go than some possibilities. And I would have voted “No” on 9/11.


  4. Post is corrected… the news is actually a bit more recent than I realised. Part of what’s depressing when you look up code to play DVDs is that most of the sites (and stories) that pop up are some two or three years old.Thanks and best wishes


  5. wow. i really have to read this AGAIN later. great post.
    also, my brother-in-law has a degree in music but of course you can’t really make money with that so he then returned to university to study computer programming. There is a clear link between music ability and math (I read that somewhere and it does seem to continually be proven true in people I encounter) so, long story short, he’s making more money than he ever dreamed and loves his work. his cello is rarely used but he doesn’t miss it much. when i want good classical music, i ask him for a recommendation.
    so my question to you is – with your intellectual ability, why don’t you study computers? just a thought. you could improve your bank account and credit rating and probably find the work easy as breathing. no?


  6. I think the government and the corporate sector is going to have to get used to the idea of ‘free media’, whether they like it or not. Swine!  Like the give a rats ass about of the welfare artists anyway. It very much reminds me of the way they legislate drugs, as long as they can profiteer and keep people quiet, while at the same time appear in control.  By the way – nice new colours!


  7. I have always been of the belief that pop music is for children and slighty potty grandmothers. If I saw a grown man buying Justin Sphires record, I would think “F****** nonce”, even though I have a collection of Chopan and Litsz piano works played by a ten year old genius. But then he wasn’t trying to be “sexy”.


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