DVDs: Grrr (a rant)

December 31st, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Rant time.

Right, film studios, distribution houses, or whoever the fuck puts DVDs together. Sort it fucking out, you cunts.

When I put a DVD in the machine I do not want to have to sit through upto quarter of and hour of shit just to get to the fucking film. I’ve bought the film, paid good fucking money for it, supported your overblown, whiney fucking company instead of those terrorist supporting, drug dealing, baby-eating pirates so LET ME SEE THE FUCKING FILM.

OK, you got the splash screen of Universals’ Earth, Disneys’ Cinderella castle or Paramounts mountain and (flying?) horse, which I’ll let you have, but then you get a fuck load of notices, which I can’t skip. What the fuck is wrong with you fuckers?

  1. The Copyright Notice
    I know it’s illegal to copy the fucking thing. I know it’s A Bad Thing to share the chuffing film over the internet. I FUCKING KNOW. I don’t need to be told everyfucking time I play the fucking movie. if I was going to do any of those things, is displaying a fucking notice really going to change my mind? No it’s not,so Fuck. Right. Off.
  2. The Anti-Piracy Promo Vid
    The same goes for this ‘funky’, ‘edgie’, ‘down-with-the-kids’ video that is supposed to make you realise that pirated DVDs pay the IRA or Al-Quada or make drug dealers money so they can buy drugs to sell to your children. Well, it too can fuck the fuck off. It’s camera work induced motion sickeness, the music might be ok of it was longer and had the chance to actuall be a porper tune, and your bolloxed of your face on ketamine, and tells people who already know you (usually) get shit quality films from pirated stuff that you (usually) get shit quality films on pirated stuff.
  3. The Commentary Disclaimer
    What the cunting fuck is the point of that Commentary Disclaimer? Whatever the director/actors/teaboy say on the disc is obviously not the film companies official line, otherwise they would have an Official Spokesman on there saying it. There is not going to be anything contentious in their commentary because the film companies lawyers have ok’d it before the DVD was released. If it must be there, LET ME FUCKING SKIP IT, you fuckers.
  4. Movie Trailers
    What is the point in putting trailer fo other films on a DVD? the only films that get put on there are either other high profile movies that i) I already know about and are going to buy or ignore the existence of or ii) unheard-of shit films that the film house need to shift more copies of that. I buy a DVD to wathc the main feature over and over again over the years. Five years down the line I still don’t want to be told that a shit film is great and I should buy, when after five years it will still be a shit film and I probably couldn’t buy it even if I did want to. At least the trailers are usually skippable but sometimes, and I’m looking at you Thomas and the Magic Railway, they’re not and it is a fucking ballache having to press a button on the remote an extra six or seven times to get past them.
  5. Animated Menus
    Yeah, yeah. Very nice. They were a thing of wonder when DVDs first appeared. ‘Ooh, look at that. You don’t get that with VHS.’ No, you didn’t. Unless you pressed pause/stop the video player just got the fuck on with it. I see the need for a menu, what with all the options like subtitles, but when I select an option just fucking do it. Don’t fuck about with swirling graphics and morphing. Get. On. With. It.
  6. A special mention for Disney Fast-Play
    Disney Fast-Play: Fuck. Off. Go on, get the fuck out. Disney Fast-Play is a big fucking lie. What do you think should happen when the Fast-Play feature appears? You get the choice of Main Menu or Fast play. Main Menu takes you where you expect, but the words ‘Fast-play’ must mean that the film will start even quicker. Yahoo! Excellent idea Disney. Cut the shit and get to the film. But no. Fast-Play does exactly the opposite. It plays tall the fucking adverts and trailers and then I don’t know because I don’t sit through the fucking thing.
    So even if you don’t get fooled into watching the trailers, it still takes longer to get to the fucking main menu than non-Disney DVDs because there is and extra menu in the fucking way. Well done Disney. I hope you’re fucking proud of yourself.

I feel better for that. Happy New Year, dear reader.

Vince Cable was biased, but so is Jeremy Hunt

December 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

If Vince Cable, for expressing his opposition to the Murdoch take over of BSkyB, is unsuitable to decide whether it is appropriate or not, then surely Jeremy Hunt is as well.

Apart from privately meeting James Murdoch, Jeremy as openly said he has no objection to the deal. This statemnet might not be as inflamatory as Cables’ ‘war’, but still shows that he has preconceived ideas about it.

The business secretary is supposed to look at the reports/evidence or whatever and then make his mind up. Jeremy Hunt and Vince Cable are two sides of the same coin. Cable is coming at it from the side of opposition and would need a great deal of persuasion to approve the deal. Jeremy Hunt is coming at it from the other direction and would need persuadeing that it is a bad idea. Both are going to be influenced not just by whether this deal is good for the media as a whole and the plurity of the press but also by their chosen ideology, party pressure and of course, what they think the public want.

The business secretary is supposed to be ‘quasi-judicial’ in these cases, but just like the home secretary when it comes to reveiwing whether to release prisoners with a minimum sentence, they never could independent of party politics.

At least with an organisation like OFCOM/monopolies commission (or whoever it is) in this case, or a proper judge in the case of prisoners, there won’t be the consideration of trying to please the electorate, the party, lobbyists, businesses. With a non-political organisation looking at it a better decision can be made. Of course what that organisation is and how it’s put together is another discussion.

Personal bias will never be iradicated, but why add to it?

on having my mind boggled

December 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve just read an article on CiF Belief about exorcism. It was ok. The author talks to an exorcist about this and that and then moves on to the process. Not in too much detail…

Exorcism begins with discernment – determining whether the person is possessed, or just thinks they are (or someone else just thinks they are). “We don’t do them on demand,” says Thomas. I was interested by the possibility of people being brought in by others. “The person who is possessed may not even realise it. It’s more frequent that someone would bring a person in,” Paprocki said. (This is my fear. What if my mother decides I’m possessed? My neighbour? My editor?)

It then moves on to the discernment…

A team does discernment. “I have a physician, a clinical psychologist, and a psychiatrist, all of whom are practicing Catholics,” says Thomas. “Out of a hundred I exorcise five.” He says the exorcist is the ultimate skeptic. “I never assume when someone says ‘I need an exorcism’ that they do.”

WTF? The exorcist is the ultimate skeptic? Not the psychiatrist or the physician (who I’m presuming will be a doctor) but the guy that drives demons out of people is the hardest to convince.

How would a physician know if someones possessed? Take blood sample and look for little gremlins? Where the fuck do they get a psychiatrist that believes that something takes over someones mind, rather than suppressed memories or trauma is screwing with someones head?

Religious people. They fucking amaze me sometimes.

Comments housekeeping

December 20th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m getting a hell of a lot of comment spam at the moment so I’m closing comments on any post over 14 days old. If that doesn’t slow down the amount of ‘awaiting moderation’ emails I’m getting then I’ll have to close them for a while. I really can’t be arsed with over 100 emails a day.

I’ve you desperately need to tell me something about an old post, which you probably won’t, you can get me on simosthoughts [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

The Red Cross Bans Christmas… or do they?

December 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, alright, it’s the Daily Mail. Again…

Christmas has been banned by the Red Cross from its 430 fund-raising shops.

Staff have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of the Christian festival because they could offend Moslems.

The charity’s politically-correct move triggered an avalanche of criticism and mockery last night – from Christians and Moslems.

Christine Banks, a volunteer at a Red Cross shop in New Romney, Kent, said: ‘We put up a nativity scene in the window and were told to take it out. It seems we can’t have anything that means Christmas. We’re allowed to have some tinsel but that’s it.

‘When we send cards they have to say season’s greetings or best wishes. They must not be linked directly to Christmas.

‘When we asked we were told it is because we must not upset Moslems.’

Mrs Banks added: ‘ We have been instructed that we can’t say anything about Christmas and we certainly can’t have a Christmas tree.

This Christine Banks woman needs to learn a bit more about the seven fundamental principles that make the Red Cross what it is and allows it to do what it does. To be fair, she probably has done now.

All seven of those principles, especially the neutrality one, mean that it can be trusted by *everyone*. Because they have that trust it means they can get to people in need that other organisations can’t get to. The Red Cross isn’t a Christian organisation that might surreptitiously try and convert people from other religions. The Red Cross doesn’t have a political view, making dictators or aggressors in wartime stop them from visiting prisoners. If you want an example of what the Red Cross’ fundamental principles enable it to do then look at Dafur. No other aid agency is allowed in except for the Red Cross.

This neutrality and the trust it brings with it is very special to the Red Cross and consequently all the people that it helps. The Red Cross couldn’t carry on as it is without it.

By not having Christmas trees or other decorations the Red Cross isn’t trying to be politically-correct. Well ok, maybe it is but only in the sense that it can’t afford to show allegiance or favouritism towards one form of dogma over another. Being apolitical and areligious is the best and easiest way to stay neutral.

The Red Cross could celebrate the birth of Christ, but to maintain their impartiality and neutrality they would have to celebrate every single other religions special day. You’d struggle to do that in your own home, never mind in such a large organisation. The chance of getting something wrong or forgetting a date and being accused of insulting such-and-such a diety is immense.

The Red Cross doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas, but it certainly hasn’t banned it, as you’ll note by visiting this page.

That article by the Mail is not a recent one, though. It could’ve been written yesterday, but it wasn’t. The Mail is still pushing the ‘Christmas is banned’ line and they still read the same today as they did ten years ago. That article is from December 2002. It is not dated, the only thing that gives it away is the mention of Sangatte, the French refugee camp near Calias, which was closed in 2002.

Why is it relevent now, after eight years? Well, because this story about a misunderstanding between the Red Cross and one of their volunteers is still haunting them…

Yesterday, we started getting some comments on our Facebook page from people angry with us for ‘banning Christmas’, which we haven’t, and the story now seems to be spreading on some American websites.

And what is the result of this anger? Cancellations of donations. A volunteers time may be free but the equipment and other resources the Red Cross needs certainly isn’t. The Red Cross needs those donations so it can carry it the work it needs it’s impartiality for. This article, *eight years* after it was written, is still having a damaging effect on both it’s finances and it’s well deserved and much needed reputation.

There is a claim common to all tabloids that nobody believes them. This is proof that that claim is wrong. People do believe them. Not only do people believe the lies, people act on them too and that is why the media needs to be more accountable to the truth.

falsely retracting claims

December 16th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I try not to do pedantry, due to usually getting it wrong or making a glaring mistake myself, leaving myself open to ridicule. I should be used to it by now.

I do have an issue with a phrase that keeps popping up recently, though. It is to do with the recent discussion about how retracted rape claims are dealt with. Not the actual guidelines but a phrase that is used, especially by the BBC. It’s a variation on

…falsely retracted claims…

As far as I can see there are two reasons why a rape claim would be retracted 1) the claimant has been pressured to withdraw it or 2) the rape didn’t actually happen.

For either of these reasons the claim is actually retracted. The second reason the claim itself maybe false but the retraction is real. Surely because a retraction either happens or it doesn’t you can’t ‘falsely retract’ a claim?

The phrase that should be used is…

retraction of false claims

How come the media is getting this wrong, it seems so glaringly obvious.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

(Posted using my phone so, please, excuse the spelling)

Pirates of the er, Vatican?

December 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I just noticed this from the Wikileaks cables in the Guardian about the Vatican

…only one senior papal advisor uses a Blackberry, one cable states the “technophobia” in the hierarchy has prompted numerous gaffes and PR mishaps, followed by attempts to protect the pope from bad news.

Which means there are at least twice as many pirates in the Vatican as Blackberry users…

…the most unexpected location [for pirated Avast! Pro anti-virus software] is for the two computers located within the Vatican.

[avast link via @gcluley]

Anonymous stop hitting the wrong target in their support of Wikileaks

December 10th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

The ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous have had a change of tactic, so we’re led to believe if this image that’s been popping up about the internet is anything to go by (lick to enlarge):

Anonymous take a different tact. Operation: Leakspin is about disemmination of information rather than illegal wars of revenge.

This change of tact away from trying to bring The Enemies of Wikileaks to their knees to distributing the information Wikileaks is releasing is A Good Thing.

Anonymous have been attacking Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal for supposedly bowing to pressure from the US government and withdrawing their services. The reasoning behind the attacks, using an opt-in botnet, is…

We are trying to keep the internet open and free but, in recent years, governments have been trying to limit the freedom we have on the internet

This is all well and good, but if it’s to keep the internet open and free like the good old days then they were going for the wrong target.

The whole point of an open and free internet is letting people/companies/entities interact with who ever they want. No censure and no coersion or being bullied into dealing with anyone you don’t want to.

Not only are the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks illegal but are they are completely at odds with the ‘open and free internet’ethos.

Of course, some companies need to grow a backbone and not cave in to government pressures when told to stop business with any particular organisation with out a court order. It’d probably be better for their reputation to be seen to be supporting something that is generally seen as A Good Thing rather than withdrawing services at the first whiff of alledged pressure from government under the guise of broken terms and conditions, especially when those terms and conditions must have been being broken for sometime.

But if those companies are being leaned on then they are victims just as much as Wikileaks are.

The people Anonymous should be attacking are the people leaning on companies to stop a lawful activity. With this new direction, it looks like they are doing just that, legally.

Daily Mail headline ‘tells truth’

December 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Whoever’s compiling the statistics for the Department for Work and Pensions could do worse than get the Mail and Express involved as they seem to have the inside knowledge.

The Mail goes with the headline

1.6m benefits claimants have never had a job ‘because it does not pay to work’

The article underneath doesn’t back up this claim, presumably because the headline can be a total lie and still be ok with the PCC. As FullFact.org state…

Unfortunately there are no statistics available for the reasons why people have never worked. Although the Labour Force Survey does record a person’s reason for currently being out of work, this would not necessarily be the reason they have always been out of work.

Therefore there is no way of knowing precisely how many of the 1.6 million have never had a job due to caring responsibilities or disability.

The headline is only the bit of the article that gets read by *everyone* that looks at it. Not everyone reads to the bottom of articles. Nearly everyone reads past the first couple of paragraphs, but *everyone* that looks at that article reads the headline.

It doesn’t matter that there are no figures for why people have never had job. The Mail doesn’t even say how many of those 1.6 million are claiming any sort of benefit. It’s just pulled the headline out it’s arse.

There will be some people that have never had to work because they have a spouse that earns enough for them not to work. There will be others that cannot work because of disability or are carers. There will be a bucket load of teenagers that are included in this that aren’t in full-time education that have never worked because they haven’t had chance to get job, despite wanting one.

But no. Every one of those 1.6 million people are lazy, workshy scroungers sponging off the state because ‘work doesn’t pay’. Or as I like to put it, capitalism sucks.

Now about that headline, this is the paragraph where I make it ok by stating that an expert says that, no, Daily Mail headlines aren’t truthful. They’re a load of bollox, isn’t it?

*the Express is not quite as forthright as the Mail, but still goes on in the same vain.

We know best

December 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Don’t bother listening to experts, the government it seems, knows best….

Ministers will not be required to seek the advice of scientists when making drug classification policy in future, under new government proposals.

The police reform and social responsibility bill, published last week, contains an amendment to the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that would remove the requirement on the home secretary to appoint at least six scientists to the committee.

Crime reduction minister James Brokenshire said…

Scientific advice is absolutely critical to the government’s approach to drugs and any suggestion that we are moving away from it is absolutely not true.

Removing the requirement on the home secretary to appoint to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs at least one person with experience in six specific areas will allow us greater flexibility in the expertise we are able to draw on.

And by flexibility, the good minister means being able to get in whoever agrees with the government as easily as possible, whilst getting rid of anyone that doesn’t agree.

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