October 9th, 2010

streaming video

I've been watching stuff through Netflix for a while, mostly on the laptop and TV, but elsewhere as well (love that restart wherever you left off feature). For reasons as yet unknown (maybe cable problems, maybe a fragmented disk on the Tivo, maybe something else), programs have not been fully recording. For cable news, I get a little cranky, then shrug. But when NCIS:LA recorded less than the first 10 minutes, and Bones didn't record at all (I suspect suboptimal season pass management is responsible for that one), I resorted to CBS video online and Hulu respectively.

And I have to say: omg the SUCK. The commercials, for starters. That there are any, that you cannot avoid them, the way they are placed in the show. NCIS shows, for example, bracket commercials on TV with black and white silent bits. The commercials for NCIS:LA Special Delivery placed the commercial after the bracketing black and white. Not a big thing, but grating.

While fast forwarding and rewinding are not bad, particularly with the little preview box, I hit the next video advance button by mistake on the episode of Bones on Hulu (Maggots in the Meathead). It took a while to get back to where I wanted to be AND it made me watch a bunch of additional commercial. Grrrr.

I'd rather pay a subscription fee, a la Netflix, or even a per episode fee a la Amazon and iTunes, than sit through the damn ads. Especially extra ads as a result of a user error.

YMMV.

I can't understand why RPGers have such a bad rep

After all, there are people like this out there:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/why-is-this-gop-house-candidate-dressed-as-a-nazi/64319/

If you're thinking of posting in facebooks comments in defense of this guy: don't.

You cannot possibly make up anything as insane as this. I have no scale by which to measure the breathtaking awful-ness of this: as a father-son bonding thing, picking a Nazi name to live by, interpreting Nazi militarism and aggression through the lens of anticommunism in the Cold War.

He's got defenders. There's a comments thread at the Atlantic. Secondary coverage over at AP (where I first saw it) is tiptoe-ing-ly neutral.

It really makes the idiots making up military records and undercover cop work and etc. seem reasonable by comparison.

[Edited to correct broken link.]
[Edited to fix wrong-word in the subject line. Geez. I'm clearly losing it.]

weird language

http://247wallst.com/2010/10/05/amazon-raises-e-book-prices-above-paper-versions/

"Amazon.com (NYSE: AMZN) has begun to raise the price of some of its e-books above their paper versions." An example is given, which has agency model pricing, then in parantheses: (Ed. note: A small number of publishers price their ebooks under an agency model, which means they set the price. This is clearly marked on the detail page for a book. According to Amazon “this price was set by the publisher.”), then a second example is given, which also has agency model pricing.

The paragraph twice mentions that this coverage is secondary to coverage in the NYT.

Then there are several sentences, with multiple errors per sentence, speculating about how Amazon prices the kindle product, the kindle e-books, and competition from the iPad.

The concluding paragraph: "Amazon customers may be upset, but the price they will have to pay for a low-cost Kindle is more expensive e-books."

Someone is always going to be upset. But given the price-up of the ebook to the hardcover in the examples given (which are new bestsellers temporarily heavily discounted) is under a dollar each. The price drop from kindle 2 to kindle 3 was enough to pay for an awful lot of those kind of price "increases".

Have I complained about Douglas A. McIntyre before? I can't recall.

In any event, I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, because multiple errors per sentence in summarizing the kindle and/or ebooks in general is so common it's just not worth the time. But that paranthetical pseudo-retraction is sort of interesting.

ETA: Needless to say, the underlying coverage over at NYT is less ridiculous, and much more circumspect about who they attribute the pricing choices to. It is unfortunate that the NYT chose to completely leave out of the discussion what prompted the agency model in the first place (the ibookstore entry into bookselling), but I have to say: isn't it bizarre that this many column inches in the NYT got devoted to a 60 cent or so price difference in a couple different books? There's no indication this is a web/online only article.