OTHER ISSUES IN THE WORLD
Well, it looks like traditional internet ads & banners are no longer working to attract revenue. I think people are really getting tired of them. I know that’s true for me personally. Many companies have resorted to using web programs to block you from using their site, if you have an active ad blocker. I’ve never visited a site where I felt they had valuable enough information for me to turn off my blocker. Problem is, you just never know whether that ad is a malicious code or not. I just avoid those kinds of sites altogether. I guess when you’ve been using computers for as long as some of us have, you really do get sick of them. So, I brought this up because I heard on the radio not too long ago, that a lot of business are going back to traditional mail. Companies are really desperate to drum up any business.
Having said that, I was seriously wondering…. Since it is perfectly legal for retail and other business to sell your contact information, are we at the point where we need two telephones#? Or possibly start giving fake addresses just so we don’t have to deal with the mountain of accumulated spam mail? Most times we don’t have a choice, we got to give our contact information. How do we as citizens handle this growing problem? I already pay for streaming service just so that I don’t have to deal with ads, because they push out more than I’m willing to accept. But now, against our will, we’ll start getting all kind of nonsense via regular snail. We really need to be on our P’s and Q’s, ’cause you’ve heard what’s going on with these “tax scams,” and these fake “law enforcement fundraisers.” Pretty soon, we’ll start seeing ads float across our windowsill. The bad part is, they’re calling our cellphones for crying out loud! I think a genius mind should develop a technology were all known telemarketing numbers should be automatically routed somewhere else.
You know, I’m not sure if a lot of people are aware of this but, Netflix streaming has changed from a five star user rating system, to a thumbs up rating system. I was really upset about that at first. I actually called to complain about. True fans of anything, especially when it comes to music and movies know, a rating isn’t always as simple as just a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. Sometimes you need that 5 star rating system because it allows you to rate movies that are complicated to rate. There are movies where we feel neutral. In other words, there are movies not bad enough to say don’t watch, but they’re not good enough to recommend them either. The Netflix rep told me that the rating system was changed to simply help them to programmatically suggest similar movies we’ve thumbed up. She claimed that this is what users have been asking for. I said to myself, “really?” If that’s true, don’t the users realize that we’re then forced to like or don’t like movies we feel neutral about. I don’t think that’s good either. But of course, because the representative I was talking to was obviously speaking as an employee, and not as a movie fan, I didn’t feel like she identified with what I was trying to say. So, what else is new right?
I just found it so hard to believe that users have chose to become so simple minded that they would ask to get rid of the five star rating for a thumbs up! Then I’ve realized, this may be because of the popularity of sites such as Facebook, and YouTube. It just maybe because sites like those are so heavily used that, it may be more a matter of desiring consistency. But those sites aren’t movie sites, they’re social media. If this is truly what the majority of users are asking for, I think this is a huge mistake, and this is not helping each other (from the standpoint of a real fan). The best way I can explain it, it’s like remembering that song you heard when you met your first boyfriend, and trying to explain how you emotionally felt to a computer in machine code (zeros and ones/no and yes, without the ability to offer context). It’s just not possible. Well, I know I can’t do anything about it, but it’s still so disappointing tho. Just my humble Opinion. If you ask me, I really do think it was a decision to force people to watch movies marked bad, ’cause those studios are not making any money. If you offer their true five star rating, why would anybody watch a 1 star rating? Well, as we all know, it’s not the first time they’ve made bad decisions.
I thought about doing something a little different and fun. I know that a lot of people who are stuck in a particular mindset, in terms of what defines beauty. However, when it comes to someone’s weight, I’ve always had the belief that NOT everyone looks good smaller in size. I’ve always felt that way ever since a I was a child. Some people who’s never been thin sometimes look sick when they lose too much weight (trying to live someone else’s standard of beauty). Let’s be real, fat phobia exist, just like many other phobias. It’s not always about being “healthy,” too many people get off of fat shaming people. Getting into other people’s business instead of their OWN.
I’d like to start off with Adam Richman. It’s funny because I was so accustomed to seeing his body larger on “Man Verses Food,” that he looks weird with his weight loss. When I say weird, I don’t mean bad; at least he didn’t lose so much weight that he looks like a bobble-head. I don’t think that’s a healthy look for anybody. I don’t care what anybody says.
Next is rapper Paul Wall. You know, I always thought he looked ok bigger. He looked good on camera when he danced, and it is my opinion that he held his weight well. Now that He lost the weight, he looks incredibly handsome. He looks like an entirely different person. I’m going to say I think he looked good both ways. But now that he’s smaller, he looks so different he looks nothing like a rapper now.
Chris Bratt, definitely a hunk now that he lost weight. Not only that, he stopped at a healthy slim weight, and not anorexic slim. Maybe it’s different with men? When women talk about weight loss, a lot of women always trying to get in to a size 1 and below LOL. Not everybody is built to be their desired weight.
Now about Kevin Liles. I don’t know about you guys, but this is one of those cases I think he looks better and healthier a little larger. He looked like a nice big o’l hug-able football bear. He wasn’t fat, he was just nice and thick, and haters couldn’t take it. Period.
Now, I don’t judge people, however, Al Roker is the only guy that I truly feel he should have gained some back. I’ve actually seen photos of him even smaller. Now, I tend to notice things other people miss. I immediately noticed that after he lost all that weight, his skin changed dramatically! I don’t recall seeing that on any person of color quite in that way. I mean, I’m not joking, when I was watching his weather broadcast, I actually remember trying to adjust my picture because I thought something was wrong, and it turned out to be Al’s actual skin texture! O my goodness, he looked double his age after he lost the weight. Now, I know that some of us who are diabetic, we sometimes suffer dry skin occasionally, I thought maybe that was it. Who knows, maybe he was on some medication that had a skin side effect? All I know, He didn’t appear healthy to me after he lost that weight. Kudos to him though!
I clicked on a YouTube link of a guy who was reviewing the latest Amazon Fire. I was totally stunned by what I heard. Not because of what he said about the Amazon Fire product itself, but what a user failed to do after she returned her fire back to amazon. Now, I’m not sure totally what the situation was, because many times companies send YouTubers products to review them; and I’m thinking maybe this one was an Open Box or something like that. In essence, the person sent back the Amazon Fire to Amazon, and failed to do a factory reset. Unfortunately, that woman’s Amazon Fire was sent to the YouTuber with ALL her personal information, and that includes access to purchases in the android store. He actually purchased a game for five dollars to prove a point. Now, the YouTuber mentioned that this was a security issue; which I agree; but I think the security issue does not lie with Amazon; it lies with the user. Anytime you change your Smart Phone, Tablet, or any other device that requires you to enter personal information, YOU MUST RESET DEVICE BEFORE RETURNING IT! This is not funny, yet I find it comical at the same time. There was a time in the 80’s and 90’s where people would go ape-shit, if they saw anyone entering their credit card on the internet, because “someone could steel it!” The truth of the matter is, credit card theft happens more on the retail level, and not on the internet level. Most large business like Amazon invest millions of dollars to make sure they have all the tools and the latest encryption technologies in place to keep your credit card information safe when purchasing online. This is also why you need a paid and trusted anti-virus package like Norton’s Security.
I’ve heard a many of dumb-ass “technicians” tell customers that anti-viruses are a scam to make money. This is soooo far from the truth. While retailers have security measures to protect your personal information being sent to them via online; your anti-virus prevents malicious code coming in. Anti-viruses prevent malicious from getting inside your computer, scanning any bank software, cookies, record keeping programs; and executing “credit card stealers” that grab/transfer/datamine and migrate all your financial information kept in your program files. You no longer have to download anything anymore to get a computer virus. You can accidentally open up the wrong email and have bad code in it; this is one of the reasons a lot of business chose to use their email programs in “TEXT MODE ONLY,” instead of HTML or RTF. You are even more vulnerable when you use illegal sites and P2P applications; they are swarming with really, really, really, bad viruses and malware, that are in *zip, *rar, *lzh, *exe, *com, and yes, sometimes they’re also found in newer versions of *pdf files. Even something as innocent as *doc, *docx, *xls, or any program that allows you to write bad program scripts, unbeknown to the downloader when they open the document; it doesn’t necessarily have to be Microsoft Word, or Excel. There is very little one can do about security if you don’t restore your device first, before you send back your device to the manufacture or retail store. Or at least, if you’re one of those people that always forget, DON’T set your android market to automatically remember your store purchase password; always enter it manually. Sometimes if you send back a device under warranty, they DO often check the device for all kinds of damages. Sometimes they check to see whether the problem is software related; and even if you put a lock on your device; there could be a combination of complex button sequences (both internal and external) on your device to unlock it (that only a authorized service center would have). Trust absolutely nobody and ALWAYS factory reset ALL devices before you return a device, or hand it down to another. Here is the YouTube link if you’re interested here.
I know there exist a lot of people who love to feed the propaganda monster; and will probably dislike me for this article. But, what the hell, It’s my blog. Do you really think there’s a White conspiracy in the music industry, to “steal Black music” away from Black culture? I’ve heard this talk over and over for quite some time now. As someone who has always had music in my blood since I was extremely young, I have a very different opinion on this matter. You know when I was little, there were many performers I listened to, that I never knew they were actually White. One of those people I distinctly remembered was Tom Jones; and apparently I wasn’t the only person who thought so; many people thought he was back then. I also thought that Michael McDonald was also Black for awhile until I actually saw him on TV. The reverse has also happened. I thought Chuck Berry was White until I saw him on TV. So, what exactly is the point of my two previous statements? The point is music influences all cultures regardless of where you come from. Second, despite what people think, (or want to believe), I don’t think we can put a color on music. The color of a person’s skin doesn’t denote their culture, neither should music.
Now I know a lot of you may think I am plum off my rocker! Yes it is true that Black music has literally influenced the world, I don’t think any music historian, or any average music lover would try and challenge this. However, understand that it is because Black music has been such an influence, it is only natural that other groups of people will try to mimic it because it’s so great! This is another reason why I suggested a few posts ago, to listen to intentional radio. If you listen to current music from India, Japan, Africa, and yes even Arabian countries, almost all of them sound American. Many Asian countries are very heavily in to hip hop. If it were not for the different language, you’d think that all of their music was produced by Pharrell, or Dr. Dre. No one is bitching that Japan is trying to “take Black music away.” I’ve heard some Arab artists that can drop lyrics better than some American artists! No one is trying to proclaim or take away anything, it’s just the nature of good music, everybody wants to do the same. The reality is, other cultures fought a long time to try and keep their traditional music, but it is fading away, just like American classic music. I think trying to take ownership of a style of music that was once ours, is like the military yelling and screaming on television that the internet was started by them, and they want to be acknowledged. The internet is so huge, and has been etched in to the fabric of our lives, does it really matter?
I think what’s important is to try and focus on keeping the memories of our dying music, rather than spending a pointless life time of pointing fingers, of an issue that really makes no sense.
Today, I got to really experience what the YouTubers in YouTube land are really complaining about. Unfortunately, 90% of the problems comes from the recording/music industry making bogus complaints concerning alleged infringements. Many of these bogus complaints are also made by company’s who don’t own copyrights. For the first time, since the creation of my YouTube channel (several years ago) I got a strike for a movie that is in the public domain. The movie that was flagged was called “Black Samurai (1977)” starring Jim Kelly. Let me tell you, the movie is just shy of being 38 years old; IMDB has it barely at 3.5 stars; trust me, no one is blowing up the producers phones demanding to see this movie. It is so easy to check these things, and I think a lot of these bogus companies do these fake claims knowing most people don’t understand copyright, therefore infringing on the rights of others to use works under fair use. The problem comes when a public domain movie contains a sound recording of a work that may still be copyrighted. They don’t own the movie, but because the song is in it, they feel they have the right to control what people do with a movie they don’t technically own. Unfortunately, the way the law is written for sound recordings, music copyrights never expire. Copyright law for music is very different than it is for movies and stills (however, for as long as you abide by fair use guidelines/conduct, you’re fine).
I had a similar situation with my diabetes channel. The law says, if you record a video of a street festival for example, and a copyrighted song just happened to be played in the background, that song being played is fair use. Why? Because the song isn’t the focus of the video; the music is simply a happenstance (however, if you’re videoing a concert of someone (especially famous), that may be a different story (unless you are doing a news like format) you should always ask permission (but you can take photographs outdoors though). You should know that sometimes even if you get permission from the artist, if they are a member of ASCAP, BMI, or Sound Exchange, one of the three still may make a claim against your video. It’s one of the big problems many lesser known artists are facing that release their works under Creative Commons. So, although they couldn’t get YouTube to take it down my diabetes video, they blocked it from Germany (Germany seems to be their favorite place to block shit). Why would an American copyright holder only block their song in Germany if a YouTuber committed an infringement? Go figure. They’re all on bullshit pills I tell you! It wasn’t even worth arguing with those idiots, sometimes it’s just best to leave it alone. Photos are different though, as a photographer in the United States, you can take pictures of anything and anyone in outdoors, and specific designated public buildings/places (except for certain government buildings where security is an issue (such as military, or the United Nations), and except inside private buildings without permission). Please check your legal rights in your particular city/state/country. So yeah, the music industry is a pain in the ass, and often times literally try to hinder our freedom of speech, while in pursuit of “all copyright infringers.” Which is why all bloggers and YouTubers should be against (and help fight) bills like SOPA/PIPA, because anything could be seen as an infringement, the way these bills are written. Therefore, if a copyright holder doesn’t like your site for whatever reason, they can legally have the courts shut down your entire site. You need to understand how this impacts bloggers; if someone wants to inform the public that a particular movie or even product is a waist of time, bills like SOPA/PIPA can theoretically be used by the entertainment industry to silence bloggers who expose them.
Unfortunately, there is no system in place on YouTube to account for fair use. Because of this, record companies now have the power to abuse claims. I don’t remember what the original company making the claim was, because the time frame for their claim must have already expired once I click acknowledge on the strike. But I do remember it was some hip hop company that matched a song that was in no way shape or form close to what was on the actual video. Once I had informed them of this (I guess they didn’t like the answer), the next thing I knew, I get a take down from only one of the distributors called “Televentures.” This tells me that the music industry is so petty, that they have nothing else better but to contact one of several distributors and had YouTube take it down.
Now, I want my readers to think about this for a minute. YouTube offers a way of changing the “infringed” sound to another sound (from a list of legal music), however, it actually removes ALL of the sound from the entire movie. In an age were everything is about streaming, the music industry is very much aware that to make money is through monetizing and licensing; why would any “copyright holder” contact the distributor in order to take down a movie; destroying your chances to monetize on that sound recording? I guess it is possible that since the sound was on an actual movie, they couldn’t monetize it, or want to share revenue (if they truly owned the song, which the didn’t). Further insult to injury, they must know it’s public domain, that’s why they didn’t contact the owner directly. This is what I call abusive power; yet the industry is totally backwards. Giving the benefit of the doubt, lets say that the movie was genuinely miscategorized as public domain; I’ve written enough detailed information that someone should have contacted and informed me, so that I can inform others in the public domain community. YouTube did not serve as a true mediator as they are supposed to. Hell, I don’t even think they read the responses. It wasn’t even the full audio, it was just the intro.
I tip my hat to all the young game YouTube reviewers who have the patience to deal with all that copyright stuff, this is really annoying, very annoying. This experience makes me now understand what documentarians go through to get permissions to use clips and such. We have fair use rights, but because everything is so automated on YouTube, it makes it extremely difficult to exercise those rights. However, this should not stop anyone from blogging what the hell they want to blog about, or talk about on video. Again, this speaks to what I’ve been saying earlier about the fear and desperation of the music industry. Unfortunately, YouTube is not going to change the system they’re using anytime soon. I really do hope that the music industry eventually loosens up. It’s funny, I’ve seen people upload full albums on YouTube, but little people like us, who try and do the right thing gets burned. Damn, they are so backwards it’s comical. However, this is the stupidity of the music labels, NOT the artists. So continue to support Rhapsody, keep your paid Spotify subscriptions, and support all your legally free internet radio stations (please). Although, I wish the music labels would focus more on paying artists fairly, and offering better contracts, as well as keeping music affordable, than wasting so much energy on YouTube. If there was ever a such thing as a “mafia” in the music industry, it would be the music labels. Trust me.
I was about to write an article that GrooveShark shut down as of last month. However, it looks like only the U.S. has shut down (grooveshark.com), not the British (grooveshark.io). If I remember correctly, I’ve read that they allowed more music to stream on their service, then the licenses they’ve paid for. I don’t think they were trying to do anything illegal; it just may have been that there was a technical mix up (physical hardware/network). Unfortunately, because of that, they got caught up in all kinds of U.S./international copyright legalities, and got sued. Copyright can and do get ugly. That’s unfortunate.
I really contemplated long and hard whether or not I wanted post this topic on my blog; because my blog is about classic music and movies. However, the tensions between cops and folks of color has become a serious issue (beyond measure). I don’t think that I can offer much more than what has already been said in the blogosphere, talk shows, and news organizations. However, this particular photograph stuck out, and it greatly offended me, and confused me at the same time. I’m not sure if this woman was trying to think of something clever to write, or she was really trying to be ignorant. Now, let me say straight up quick, I am not a master in English (but I can hold my own). Nor have I ever been one of those people that make it a hobby to rip apart every single thing an author writes. However, because I know that (personally) I am not the best speller in the world (cause I am human, not like some of you perfect robots), I know that it is compulsory to always have my spell check turned on, and a dictionary and thesaurus handy (nothing wrong with that, that’s what they are there for). I know that if I made a conscious effort to participate in one of the most important televised movements in this generation (possibly our history); I’m going to make sure that I’m not going to misrepresent myself and my people as ignorant.
The sign “Don’t Shoot and We Won’t Loot,” not only has several grammatical errors in it, it’s also offensive. I interpret this as saying, I confirm that all black people are looters, but if you stop killing us, we’ll stop destroying our own communities we live in. That sign does not make us look good at all. You should see the negative stuff I’ve read on other message boards concerning this photo. This sign was so offensive that it made me wonder if she was one of the groups of people willfully causing disruption? It’s interesting, a lot of Blacks want to keep this anger alive, but when LGBT people have been victimized daily by the majority of people of color, Black folk don’t bat an eye. In addition, these same people who write these ridiculous sign want to scream out “know your history!” This is not funny, not funny at all.