Category Archives: opinion

Self-inflicted Torment

One thing that has always amazed me is how people become unhinged over the smallest of things, and then obsess over them. I’m not talking about something making one angry so that they feel the need to vent, after which they move on. No, I’m talking about those people who on purpose watch, listen to, or read things they know will make them angry.

For example, someone will watch the news and will get angry at what they see. Rather than turn it off or change the channel, this person will keep the news on and get angrier and angrier. Then, they’ll go to blogs or online news sites and the fires of rage keep brewing. Why do this?

For me, I recall back years ago in anime fandom dealing with someone named Blade. He had a knack for saying things to make people mad and boy did he ever, myself included. Initially, I felt compelled to respond to this guy, but after a few times, I realized that this was nuts on my part. Let him say what he wanted. No one was forcing me to read his posts, so why would I read anything that I knew was just going to piss me off?

Then there was ELL. He is someone I knew online via the anime fandom and he is an elitist in that anyone who disagrees with him will take massive abuse for their ignorance. No one wants to take abuse, so people would get angry with him for his sitting in the seat of the scornful and talking down to them. While there was no reason for him to be so crude and rude, the thing to do was to get up and walk away if his abuse made you angry. After all, it wasn’t like he was going to follow you around from board to board to continue to heap abuse on you.

Of course there are psychopaths who claim to hate something so much, and yet they somehow seem to read every bit of information that is out their on whatever it is they hate. Why? The real sad part is that this thing they hate could be a TV show, say the current Battlestar Galactica. The become so obsessed over how much it sucks compared to the original 70’s series in their mind that they spend hours going to all the BSG sites and boards. They troll behind a proxy (to hide their IP) and blast away on a board or blog comment section to express their rage. The more they do it, the more they keep the fires burning within them. Is that any way to live?

I admit I waste a lot of time online, but I can’t imagine spending that time looking for things on purpose to piss me off. In some ways I feel sorry for these people who’s self-worth is so low, they have nothing else to lift them up (and even then, its not good enough). Then I remind myself that they do this to themselves. It would be so easy to avoid topics or people who anger you (because no one is making you read those things, or listen to them, or watch them) and thus improve your quality of life. But then the psychopath isn’t thinking too clearly, so caught up in themselves and their feelings, they can’t see the forest for the trees. May God have mercy on them.

Qtrax — Free Legal Music Downloads (w/ DRM)?

I’ve been reading from British and American publications about a new, free, legal, music downloading via peer-to-peer software. The service, known as Qtrax, will reportedly have 25-million tracks (supposedly including rare songs and live recordings) that one can download-to-own for free from big labels such as EMI, Universal, and Warner (though as of this posting, it appears that these companies are denying having licensing deals with Qtrax, meaning that right now, no legal free music). So free, legal music may be just around the corner.

Of course there is a catch. You will have to download the Qtrax proprietary software (a “jukebox” browser, based off of Firefox) to play the Qtrax files (and your other MP3’s as well I take it). Said software will supposedly provide “nonintrusive” ads to pay for said music and will monitor and report on what songs you play so that they can then pay artists. Your iPod will not play Qtrax songs (for now at least). The DRM on the files will apparently prevent you from burning said songs to a CD though I can find no mention of their being blocked to other portable devices (I can’t discover if these are going to be MP3 files or something else). You will be reportedly be “encouraged” to dock you player every thirty days so that the spyware can report on what songs you are listening to.

It is about time that the music industry finally gets it (assuming the deals are eventually confirmed), after fighting this for what? Ten or more years? Hello! McFly! Find a way to give the consumers what they want and get paid for it rather than attack your customer base.

The Qtrax service is clearly going to be perfect for the high school, college, and other folks who don’t have much disposable income but want to hear music. You trade off some privacy and have to see some ads to get almost all the music you want. (I say almost because clearly if you are into Japanese music, this service isn’t going to help. And I doubt that Qtrax will have a rare track like “Nasty Rock” by Garrets Crew or “Jump, Stomp, and Twist” by Mo-Jo.) Providing you can score a portable player that will play Qtrax files and have access to a PC/laptop that the free software can be installed on, you are good to go.

For me and others like me, the service is going to be mostly a “no go” because frankly, I’m not interested in what I listen to be monitored and recorded to report back to Qtrax. I’m not interested in something that I can’t burn to a CD (but lets face it, should this thing actually get off the ground, there will be software to overcome this DRM). In my car, I have an MP3 CD player, and that’s what I use to listen to tunes. So I transfer MP3’s to CD’s just for that purpose alone (to say nothing of offline archiving of my MP3 files). Further, I want to listen to music without being forced to use a 3rd-party software to listen to it on my computer, so I’m willing to pay for a legal, DRM-free, MP3 file (say ~30-cents per track of a new, current song, ~15-cents per track of an older song).

Still, this may all be moot anyway. Qtrax was apparently another illegal P2P application until 2002, when they shut down to avoid being sued when the RIAA went after Napster. Now despite it being widely reported that they are back and will be offering free, legal downloads, the music industry is balking at this and Qtrax has a ton of egg in its face with “Big Music” laughing their butts off at Allan Klepfisz (the CEO and President of Qtrax), showing him who’s the boss around here.

I’m going to follow this to see what happens. Should this be a “go,” I’ll be interested in what the tech folks says for sure.

We Still Have a Rain Forest?

So, on the forced CNN viewing at work (because apparently, anything other than CNN on the Command Center monitors will cause my company’s stock to plunge) I see them take a break from the Anna Nichole Smith coverage to do a shocking “Planet in Peril” report — the rain forest is disappearing.

WHOA! We still have a rain forest? That’s news to me.

I remember as a kid back in 1980 being told that by 2000, there’d be no rain forest. It was all doom and gloom and humans were just destroying the planet. With the rain forest gone by 2000, the damage to the planet would be unimaginable.

So, here it is 2007 and the rain forest is still there. Not only is it still here, but it is mostly still here. What the smeg happened?

Ah, but leave it to Mr. Cooper who has decided it is time to sound the alarm and hit the panic button over the destruction of the rain forest. I can’t tell if he gave a time frame or not on when it would be gone, but since all of the record snows and cold this winter have killed the global warming stories (and ironically, the cold and ice caused a government global warming hearing to be postponed), we need to keep showing how the planet is being destroyed.

I guess God isn’t in control of things, is he Chicken Little?

Blogs

For fun, I thought I’d cruise some of BlogSpot’s blogs and see what the smeg was out there. Certainly there are an amazing number of people blogging, all with stuff to say. Some was interesting and some not (as you might expect).

Still, when it comes down to the sheer number of blogs, its amazing that many of them get read at all. My anime/manga blog is going to generate traffic because there is a sizable number of folks interested in anime/manga, and based on traffic patters, specific titles I’ve talked about.

But this blog where I just ramble about this and that is just one spec in an ocean of blogs where others are talking and saying this and that. In some ways, its pretty arrogant of me to even think that folks might be even remotely interested in anything I have to say. ^_^;;;

On the other hand, it is pretty fun to blab (and Lord knows I’m good at running my flapper, so sending that flap down to my fingers, onto the keyboard, and into the blog is no difficult chore) whether anyone reads this thing or not.

Having said that, I have now made a post about nothing where initially I thought I would have something brilliant to say, but in the end didn’t really say anything, did I? *lol*