so while you wait for that, here are some of the distractions that caught my eye this morning….GTA coming to the Wii.Oh sweet god say its true. This story popped up about 4 months ago, and nothings chaged, but my site wasnt around four months ago…“Nintendo has done all it can to persuade Take-Two Interactive Software to bring the Grand Theft Auto franchise to Nintendo consoles, and it is now up to the third party publisher to decide whether Rockstar Games’ immensely popular series will appear on Wii.”
So last night i was visiting one of my favourite forums, and a bit of friendly homophobia was used. To my international readers, Homophobia is the last great prejudice you can still enjoy in this country. Insult someone by insulting their race, and you’ll probably be attacked for it. Be sexist to a co-worker, and “the do-gooders” will probably complain. Thankfully, if you’re homophobic, as long as you’re funny about it, no one will care.I pointed this out on said forum, and this was the debate that followed. I have removed the usernames of all members to protect the innocent, and the fuckwits:Me:HomophobiaI’ve noticed recently that homophobia goes (largely) unnoticed on these fabulous forums. it really pisses me off.the last time i pointed this out was a few weeks ago, with a simple “can we leave homophobic comments out” which was meet by a comment of “no one cares, get over it…”recently, the australian politics thread was peppered with homophobic responses, and very few people cared.all this reminds me of an old d-generation skit that simply had a guy saying “what i love about australia is you can be sexist, and racist, and it doesn’t affect your social life…” in the mid eighties when that skit aired, it was true, you could be sexist and racists as much as you wanted, and you were just “having a laugh”. its interesting that homophobia wasn’t even considered in that skit.20 years later homophobia is seen as the same socially acceptable prejudice, you can attack gays in social settings and you’re also just having a laugh. the nrl footyshow has turned this into an artform. well i think its about time we start seeing this discrimiation as the bullshit that it is and put a stop to it.I’m sure that the admins & moderators of this forum do not condone homophobia, and i’m not saying they should have previously deleted homophobic posts. but i think all members should question any wanker that believes attacking a person based on their sexuality is acceptable.just my two cents…Member 1I agree, but at the same time, I think people sometimes misunderstand the word gay, people who say gay don’t always mean it in a homophobic way…Obviously I’m not defending the people who do use it in a derogatory way!Gay did mean happy at one point, and I guess in a way it still does :PMember 2Of course too many people are too anal nowadays not with just homophobia..ah i used to be a homophobe when i was younger, as I was in an old-fashioned family, now I have many friends of many preferences/perspectives and what not with sex, religion, etc etc.. fuck, they’re mates, they accept me for me, and I accept them for them.Point is, some people find that to be acceptable to criticise people of their appearance, sexual preference, etc because they were brought up that way (american history X would be an okay example). Of course it doesn’t give them an excuse to get away with being racist/sexist if it’s in a derrogatory way…I dont know its a wishy washy scenario where its okay to do it with close friends that jokingly do it (as I find with my mate who’s indigenous… yeah i know off topic, but yeah, indigenous and I use the N word around him, but I know its a joke. I wouldn’t say it to anyone else, nor would I use it in abuse).I would say.. act if it offends you, but dont bother if it aint offending you or people around you or anyone else that’d read it, as I’m sure that someone who would get offended would act on their own free will on how to react to homophobic comments. They’re not weak/stupid neitherMe:Member 2, i appreciate your response, but the point i was trying to make is that if someone said something blatantly racist, the admins would delete it. yet someones homophobic content can last forever.yeah, i used to be homophobic too, it was common language where i grew up. and i also dig the idea of reclaiming an offensive word with friends, such as the n word you implied. but that doesnt mean you can post that word on a public forum does it?Member 3Easy for me to say it, but it is one of those phases that the country goes through. Social policy is dictated to a lesser degree by our political masters – having a conservative government in power who has indictaed their views strongly on same sex marriages etc etc tends to sink in after awhile.”Poofter bashing” will always be around, just on different levels. Take aborigines – it is rare nowadays to find them called “abos”, but they are still called “darkies” etc. Some would say that term is less demeaning, but the underlying prejudice is still there.Member 4my question is if i am with my mates and someone said”dont be so overly sensitiave ya big poof ” would that be ok?and if they said it here would it be ok?then you have the female situation where some of my female friends want to be called lesbians some want lesbo and some want dike – now i call em all girls… its far to confusing cause amoungst my friends – a dike dont wanna be called a lesbo – a lesbian dont wanna be called a dike – a lesbo wont mind being called a lesbian – a lesbo will often accept dike but wont really like dike much… so its kinda difficult to assess this – in written communications… i am sure i missed something out but you get the idea ….Member 5I agree,it shouldn’t be allowed on forums like this, or any really.I think it’s just complacency really , just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right.Me:well Member 4, i’d personally call those “girls” women, but thats just me.the whole “dont be so overly sensitiave ya big poof ” is what i’m talking about, you’re using poof there as a socially acceptable put down. but why is it a put down? it can only be a put down if being a poof is somehow being less than a human being. since Member 2 mentioned it, could i ask, would you ever say to your mates “dont be so overly sensitiave ya big nigger “if the answer is no, then using the word poof aint acceptable either…Admin 1Who gives a toss, if you want to suck cock or enjoy some girl on girl action, be my guest. Do whatever makes you happy – depressed straight people or happy homos, hmm, not that hard to decide eh?Anyone who can’t realise that it’s good for people to be themselves are deluding themselves.Member 2women? you mean kitchen-abandoners? :PI suppose there should be a difference of the usage on the forum, to usage in your place/time outside the forum? (not you, i mean people)Member 6Any more of this and the forums could have a Gay Pride March!Member 7I don’t give a smurf what you are, so stop going on about it… it’s boring and quiet frankly I’m not interested or curious. This a MAC site last time I looked.Admin 1Ditto that.Member 8That is the trick. A internet forum is a public space so i don’t think homophobic language is acceptable. In private with people i know well acceptable language changes. If i am in a setting with friends who know are either gay or are not homophobic using gay in a derogatory way can be ammusing to us. However at cricket training i would never use such language because 99% of the team are completely homophobic and don’t like gay people therefore i would not indulge their bigotry. This is a public forum so i try not to insult anyone, even if from my perspective’i’m only joking’. No one else whether i’m joking or not.Member 1Admin 1 – I thought you were pro off topic subjects?And this is more on topic than most recent threads, it’s related to the site, as opposed to nothing to do with the site.A valid point as been made IMHO.Admin 1I’m for off-topic discussion, but there’s a high potential for this thread to turn into something more insidious.Notice how I haven’t closed this thread. Just because I don’t think it should be dicussed, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed. But if turns nasty, it will be closed.Me:Member 6 honey, i’m not actually gay, but thanks for asking.Member 7, i don’t give a smurf either, but the point is that the orange sofa is one of the most posted boards, and you know what, its not about macs! but i believe my gay brothers should be able to post there without getting attack, no matter how subtle the attacks may be…ftc . . . Australia is a country which tries to base its national identity on sport, and the tougher the sport, the more the Australian male believes in the myth of his masculinity, and will push to exploit the different sexuality of others. I suppose it came as quite a shock when Sydney developed one of the largest homosexual celebrations in the world, its annual mardi gras.Member 9Years ago when I lived in Melbourne I met someone who later became a friend, and he told me that the first time we met and I knew of his homosexuality, he could see me building a brick wall between us in my mind. I wasn’t aware that I was doing it, so was it his own sensitive perception? I haven’t seen him for a long time but we still keep in contact, so my brick wall couldn’t have been too real.Even on the forums which is well run we can see the various prejudices of members. They’re not necessarily sexual, but exist in a variety of ways, and I can’t see it being curbed. I agree that prejudice and discrimination should not be tolerated, and to be honest, when a thread becomes unpleasant for whatever reason, I cease to click onto it.Edit: This forum is the Orange Sofa so it doesn’t have to be about Macs.Me::wow, this thread is being replied to faster than i can reply…just to make a few things clear, i’m not gay. i’m also not saying that because i think being gay is anything to be ashamed of, but because i don’t want my views to be considered biased.Member 9, again i understand what you mean, but i was sexist/racist/homophobic growing up, as were all my friends. because it was acceptable. today, only being homophobic is acceptable.i really dont want this thread to turn nasty either, but seriously, if we cant have this debate without it becomin nasty, then there is no point having the debate at all.Member 10I am a homo. *puts hand up*I have a pretty thick skin though, and am generally pretty politically incorrect myself most of the time… I also see a big difference in being politically incorrect and outright Hatred…so sometimes i see Homophobia and while i may react i do tend to console myself inthe fact that i am Way smarter than them to begin with.Me:another reason why i love you Member 10!Member 9You’re doing well, good on you for raising the subject.Me:thanks. as i said about 1 year ago, i’d love to have a beer with you and Admin 3 one day…Member 11Me too. *also raising hand*Mostly, homophobia doesn’t upset me but once in a while it really gives me the shits. There’s a lot to be said for not getting overly sensitive but frankly there are still way too many unreconstructed bigots out there.I just read through the entire Politics thread to guage just how much homophobic content was there…Yes, there are homophobic comments – IMO made in bad taste, but if I had responded to the thread after those comments were made, I personally wouldn’t have made an issue of it. I have some good friends who are homosexual. In fact, I’m continually telling him to get his rear end over to Aussie so I can find him a good man to settle down with I personally felt that commenting on the bad taste remark would only blow it out of proportion, and empower the person who made the original remark.As far as everyone ignoring it… there were people in the thread who pointed out that the remark was in bad taste, and there did end up being a limited discussion on the thread about the issue (IMO I feel that the originator of the initial remark didn’t take critism well and ended up the poorer in that discussion)As far as censoring posts because of individual words or things said in bad taste… I personally hate censorship. I can’t stand seeing posts deleted because of one thing that may offend someone, somewhere, some time. I can understand in threads like the For Sale etc threads, having completely off topic posts or posts from people not interested in purchasing (or selling in the Wanted forum) can blow out a thread and can understand the reasoning behind deleting non-relevant posts… I may not appreciate it fully, but I can understand it I cannot understand the reasoning behind deleting an entire post for the usage of one phrase or word. If there are things that are found to be offensive, a first option in many forums I have been on has generally been for moderators to contact the offending party and ask for specific things to be changed, or give a warning about breach of rules.Member 12Yeah I think most of us would agree that putting someone down because of their race / religion / ethnic background etc is not cool except in those cases where you and your friends are open about giving each other a light hearted dig but i also think that political correctness has gone too far in our society. The trick is to find a middle ground where we are not offending anybody but still able to have a bit of comedic banter between ourselves. Hey I’m a Kiwi but some of my mates have had me in tears with their Kiwi jokes and impressions so I certainly don’t take offence at Kiwi bashing if its done in a funny way .StewieMember 9ftc . . . Admin 3 and I drink Coopers!Member 13Fulltime – please understand my intent is not to sir the pot, however IMHO I have not seen one thread/post whatever where your gay brothers have been attacked…IMO this is a particularly friendly forum with most folks, however cooky they may be (sorry Member 14 ), getting along just nicely!In actual fact most of the gay friends I have are the ones using the most homophobic terms and these are the ones who also use the n word prolifically. (When speaking to other gays etc.) Seems its okay for them to use the terms amongst themselves but if anyone else uses them.. no no no – shame on you!Anyway none of my gay mates have macs, and none of them post here so you have nothing to fear in this regard!Member 15I have not noticed any blatant homophobia on this site. I think that prejudice against middle- easterners is a far greater problem in the wider community.Admin 2Though slightly OT mentioning this, someone a while back accused me of being homophobic, my supposedly having said something which I never did. Quite laughable when I lived round the corner from Oxford St in Sydney, worked with numerous gay people, including having gay managers who I got on well with and considering forum mods and chat ops who are gay…But anyway…I third the I don’t give a toss comments. Though I don’t condone in the least inappropriate comments, I wouldn’t either want Australia to become somewhere so politically correct that people are afraid to speak (like the USA) – even if their speech is absurd. Anyone who is obviously a bigot or a fool will be seen clearly as such. It’s their problem.If someone posts something you think is appropriate, click on this button – and tell us about it. Remember though, words are just that… words. Excuse the philosophy, but IMO it’s better to use adversity as a tool to strengthen yourself than attempt to suppress or destroy what you don’t like.Member 16I agree. There is a big difference between hatred and merely making fun, or being flippant.I’m against censorship, even if people have stuff to say that I find hurtful or wrong. I’m also against political correctness.Treat people as you expect to be treated basically. There shouldn’t be rules about what can and cannot be said. Some people are arseholes. Making rules that only let them be arseholes in private doesn’t change that fact.Admin 3I don’t see any real problem for homophobia specifically on these forums. I mean, sure – you get one or two people who might say something that’s a bit stupid, but they’re usually trolling bigots and should be ignored.If anything is outrageously offensive in a post (and well outside the forum rules), report it by clicking this button below the post.Admin 2I think most prejudice is really phobia (slight side-note parallel example: people from the US say that Japan is racist, when really it’s somewhat Xenophobic – a misconception of thinking that what they see in their own back yard is what they see here) which results from the news and people associating changes in society with a particular section of society.We’re scared of what is not in our control – which is why I’ll always say that we should take control of ourselves first and foremost.Me:i would say that the homophobia on this site is never blatant, because it doesnt have to be. calling someone a “poof” is as acceptable as calling someone an idiot.sorry it took so long to reply but the the forums serach engine sucks, anyhoo, here are some moments:Quote:66.2% One Nation. You idealists must have given homos the big ticks! :PQuote:They seriously need quality management control.i’ve never heard of a Dell Computer failure. if i was steve job i would seriously kick the ass of the faggot in charge of quality control.Quote:shut up fag.Member 17As far as I can tell, whenever I’ve seen a bigoted comment on this forum, it sticks out like the proverbial dogs whatnots, and the poster is seen as a goose. There usually isn’t a need to say anything, they damn themselves with their own words. Best to ignore I find, but I understand why some people take offence.Along, long time ago, a poster innocently mentioned they were “jewed” by someone who had ripped them off. I pointed out in a polite manner by PM that they should think about what that word meant and how some might be offended. The poster amended the post, sent me a polite email back and it was sorted. No, Im not Jewish.Me:Admin 2, i’m sure you’re not a homophobe, so i’ll ask you, is the following acceptable?Quote:66.2% One Nation. You idealists must have given abo’s the big ticks! :PQuote:They seriously need quality management control.i’ve never heard of a Dell Computer failure. if i was steve job i would seriously kick the ass of the nigger in charge of quality control.Quote:shut up jew.if it is, then yeah, i dont give a toss either, if it aint, well, i want some changes round here…Member 4i think you got the entire wrong end of the overley sensitive comment and are CHOOSEING to take offence at it – what about queer eye for the straight guy? obviously promoting that gay men have better taste in cloths etc etc… sorry mate i think that you will loose your arguement – you KNOW that they are saying *sorry mate didnt mean it that way* but are saying it in a playfull way – the big poof comment isnt a put-down at all – in fact it is saying that that you have an atribute of a specific segment of socity – now you wouldnt say sensitive ya big nigger cause thats not a charastistic of that segment of sicity but you will say that someone sings like a nigger which would be a huge compliment or – that they play sax like one… again a compliment – you might even say they are endoured like one… its about people chooseing to take offence at somethingt that is obviously not intended in that way – now if someone said something like a nigger at a kkk meeting – you would know that they were talking about ‘out of place’ if someone said like a poof at mardigras you would know they were talking about ‘fitting in’ – but you take offence at these analaligies… perhaps you would like to give me an example of an analagie where you believe that offence and defimanation of the gay community is intendedMember 18this thread is gay close it…….. oh waitMember 19next thing you know, we’ll see a user with kermit the frog avatar, singing Rainbow ConnectionMember 4ok the examples…Quote: 66.2% One Nation. You idealists must have given abo’s the big ticks! :Pi compeltley dont get this one – but we all know one nation isnt exactley a good roll modle so i would say this is a rude one…Quote: They seriously need quality management control. i’ve never heard of a Dell Computer failure. if i was steve job i would seriously kick the ass of the nigger in charge of quality control.nigger is refering to underpaid hard worker – again a negative image of a race and you can see the defmination in this sentance – i wouldnt like to see this one used overly on the site…Quote: shut up jew.shut up is a rude statement anyway – jews apparently ‘always complain’ and a lot of jewish commedians play on this – its difficult to say about this one – perhaps borderline – maybe with a smile its ok – but as a statement no but mostly cause of the phrase shut-up more then jew..there are also things like ‘talking like an italian’ which would be fine – talks with hands….Me:Member 4: well, first i’d probably invest in a spell checker, but then i’d say that the queer eye kids are expressing themselves and are playing off the stereotypes that the community impose on gay men, and to that i say god bless em, they have every right..but i doubt any black person would take “you sign like a nigger” as a compliment.its hard to judge, as a white straight man…Member 15Must this be turned into a witchhunt?Member 20I’m gay and I haven’t really noticed any homophobia on this site. But I tend to keep out of most off-topic threads. They don’t really interest me.Me:not at all, and i don’t mean it to be. thats why i haven mentioned the names of those i’ve believed to be homophobes.i just want to make the simple point that homophobia, regardless of how innocuous it may seem, is fucking offensive…Member 21Enough with the homophobia-ophobia alreadyMember 6nteresting observation I’ve made after talking to many people on the street is that the first think they pipe up about is the very think they’re most insecure about. “You’re only talking to me because I’m black””Gay””Middle Eastern” so on and on and on… I’ve worked with asians who call other asians “gooks” Homosexuals who say “he such a fag” so on and so on. But the worst individuals are the young white folk who scream foul about all of the above like they are acting proxy for the rest of society. What a pack of gay white trash! There ya go… Pull that apart.Member 19Hey the Orange sofa is where i come to find out what the world greatest experts think on life’s special matters. Social interaction of a different kind.Me:Member 6, honey, there is no point pulling that apart, you’ve clearly show yourself as an insecure police officer who feels the need to attack the very social groups he’d love to join.as for the fact that i’m a young white folk, yeah, i am. but my sister and mother are both gay, and that realisation would have probably been much easier for me to deal with if being gay was reaaly acceptable, not just acceptable in the sense of its-ok-to-make-fun-of-them-as-long-as-you’re-not-one-of-them…Member 6You sound like a frustrated teen.Admin 3I don’t want to come back at 10pm tonight to find this thread turned into a flamewar, so i’m going to close it now.EveryoneIf something bothers you on the forums, be that excessive swearing, prejudice, wankerisms or plain trolling: You have two options; ignore or report.I think Member 17 sums it up nicely.Quote:As far as I can tell, whenever I’ve seen a bigoted comment on this forum, it sticks out like the proverbial dogs whatnots, and the poster is seen as a goose. There usually isn’t a need to say anything, they damn themselves with their own words.CLOSED
Stealing images from the web to illustrate your posts? Use Google Image Search? Well there is an easier way! Check out http://dearcomputer.nl/gir/Its simply google image search, but instead of giving you page after page of thumbs, that you have to click on, the click to get the image, this clever little site just gives you the images in all their easy to steal glory.But seriously, dont hotlink from another site. If you find an image you want to steal, copy it accross to any of the free imagehosting sites like photobucket or imageshack and link to them.
I promised an update to the Paris, Britney, Lindsay post, but to be honest, mocking them is no longer fun.Instead, I thought I’d post this instruction video for the ladies of how to get out of a car without showing you knickers. Note, the makers of this video assume you’re wearing knickers. But the theory is the same. If you’re sick of seeing Britney’s Bagina, Lindsay’s Firecrotch, and Paris’ Lady Garden, please share this video.[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.videojug.com/player/videoJugPlayer.swf?id=6d1989c1-5ec9-4e0c-af4a-ff0008c8ac51″ height=”345″ width=”400″ /]
Starbucks. The coffee place. Why? What did you think I meant.Anyhoo, Starbucks is dead in Australia, or atleast it should be. I’m not saying this because I’m a coffee snob. Yes Starbucks coffee is bland, overpriced and made by 12 year olds who couldnt spell the word barista, but so what? That hasn’t stopped Starbucks growth in other parts of the world.And I’m not saying it because I’m some crazy lefty, capitalist hater. i’m fine with a giant US company moving into an overcrowded market and crushing small coffee houses all around the world.What pisses me off about Starbucks is that they don’t offer Australians the same service they offer Americans, free wireless. Starbucks in the US have free wifi in all their stores, provided by T-Mobile. Although T-mobile is a paid service, its free in every Starbucks because Starbucks pays the bill. In Australia, Starbucks offer wifi through Telstra, who charge ridiculous amounts of cash for the privledge. Its bullshit and it needs to change.
Blockbuster, that great chain of video stores that have no movies from Fellini, Godard, or Welles, but have ten copies of every Wayans Brothers film ever made, stopped charging late fees in 2004 in the US. In Australia, they still happily charge late fees, and are even happier to sell your debt to credit agencies. Another load of bullshit for my countrymen.Now i can accept we live in a global market, where giant US companies are free to enter our market place. I enjoy travelling the world and seeing US companies on every street. I for one welcome our US overlords. But in a global world, its just too damn easy to see that Australians are getting screwed on services the yanks take for granted. As the last remaining member of the coaltion of the willing, America, cut us some slack.
Thanks to Lavo, Kuma, nbetts, marc and a few others at Mactalk for keeping the the mammoth copyright/ piracy thread alive. Its definitely an issue that just wont go away for young geeks, and i feel i should respond again.My whole idea for this blog was to right about the issues i saw in the film and television production worlds, which i pretend to inhabit, and the geekosphere that i cant seem to leave. Its no wonder then that I’m obsessed with copyright, as its here both my spheres meet most often and fiercely. Looking over the viewing figures of my site though, its clear I’m not the only one obsessed with copyright. Up until yesterday my 5 page rant on Australian Televisions pathetic response to “Channel BT” was the most viewed article at Fulltime Casual. Then yesterday I posted a link to Harry Potter nude, and anything i had to say fell into the background. (note to self, post more nude celebrities)But back to copyright/piracy. Why is it such a big concern today? Nobody cared when i was a kid. Well obviously technology has made piracy so damn easy. An mp3 can be sent around the world a hundred times in minutes. A tv show is not that far behind for some lucky bastards with decent pipes. I can completely understand why the recording and motion picture industries are terrified about this, and for a long time as a hopeful content provide, i was quietly terrified myself.But then i realised my complete hypocrisy.I have been a pirate all my life. Hmmm, should i be writing this? Probably not, but its just too damn annoying saying “friends i know that pirate…””i’d never use bit torrent but apparently…” etc etc. I’m sick of continually trying to deny the fact that almost everyone i know has enjoyed a pirated film/tv show/song in their time. And i don’t think denying this will actually help change the laws surrounding copyright.To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.–E.C. StantonLet me explain. I’ve never pirated anything to rip off an artist, or to fund terrorist sleeper cells. I’ve pirated for one reason only. I’m poor. I always have been. I’m not saying this for sympathy, because even though I’ve always been poor, I’ve been poor in Australia, and thats a damn sight better the some places you could find youself poor in. I have decent healthcare, a decent education, a decent HECS debt, overall, a fairly decent life.But still, as a child, i grew up in a single parent household in a Housing Commision estate. We simply didnt have that much money to spend on “luxuries”. So when i heard a song on the radio I loved, I didnt run to the local record store and buy it, I would sit up on the weekend for “The Hot 40 countdown” and I’d record it off the radio. Despite being a huge fan of music, I can only remember two singles and one album i ever actually paid for. All You Zombies by the Hooters, Blue Monday ’88 by New Order, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. What can i say, i was a weird child.But that was my entire bought collection for the first 16 years of my life. But man, i had about three thousand mixtapes.Likewise with film. When I was eight years old, i left the cinema after a screening of Back to The Future and announced to my mum i was going to be a filmmaker. 21 years later i still tell her that, and I’m sure one day she’ll believe me. Did i buy the video of Back to the Future? Of course not. I taped it off the tv. Somewhere in Sydney is my childhood collection of VHS tapes. Its ana amazing collection to sift through. Most film have the ads removed, no small feet considering our vcr didnt have a remote. The films that don’t are probably more fun to watch these days for the cheesy commercials that pop up between them. I know I have a copy of The Terminator somewhere that is interrupted ever ten minutes with Greg Evens invite you to “Play Scrabble at McDonalds.”Either way, i never pirated anything for any other reason than because i couldnt afford to buy it. Sure, under all applicable laws thats theft. I’m not arguing it isn’t. But I’ve never been able to care all that much. Perhaps it was poverty, perhaps it was my damn lefty teachers, perhaps I’m simply immoral. But I just don’t care.Hmmm, this post was meant to be entirely different, but it kind of got out of hand, sorry about that. I think I’ll end it here for now and join you again in my late teens/early twenties, when I had a disposable income and bought many cd’s, dvd’s and books, just like a good little consumer is supposed to…
dammit, just trying to get stuff done and i’m being confronted by a million little annoyances. Here are just two:USB devices that dont charge via USB! Worse still are USB device that actually drain down a battery whil connected to a USB port. Yeah, I’m talking about you Sony, and your shittly little Cybershot…Power Adapters that are so fat they block the plug next to them. Jesus, I’m sitting in a room with about 300 electrical devices and 4 available plugs. Worst offender; My Old Sharp gx25 Mobile Phone, that sucker was designed so that the adapter would stretch accross 3 plugs! Seriously, WTF?I’d take a photo but i can’t because my camera is flat and i burned the charger in disgust…
On my favourite forum, MacTalk Australia, discussions of piracy, ethics and bit torrent bubble up every few months.Because piracy and television are near and dear to my heart, i always join in on these discussions. The funny thing is, someone always seems to argue that “piracy funds terrorists”.Ohh, scary!Now the people I know who “pirate” television do so for the own personal use, so I don’t see how this arguement is relevant. Still, the position is always argued. So I decided, once and for all, to put it to the test. Why do you pirate television, if you do (you awful, dirty people). I personally don’t. Pirating makes Baby Jesus cry.[poll=1]
The End of Silly Season
Steve Jobs famously said “It is better to be a pirate than to join the navy” when rallying the troops who designed the first Macintosh. Twenty years later it seems odd that the same Mr. Jobs has done more to stem the flow of pirated material over the internet than any single person. Apple and the iTunes Music Store dragged the record industry into the new market of the internet. Before iTunes, music on the internet was “shared” illegally through peer-to-peer networks such as Kazza and Limewire. Nobody believed that people would buy music on the net when the same files were available free of charge. One Billion songs later and iTunes is a word synonymous with success. But you know all that.Now, a new network called bit torrent has become the online pirates favourite weapon of choice. Its favourite download? Television shows.Television Networks see this as pure theft. They argue that shows downloaded illegally are hurting ratings in Australia and are responsible for lost revenue in advertising. They also claim that people will not download television at a price when free versions exist all over the web. Hmmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?First, some history. Bit Torrent was created by Bram Cohen, as a way of distributing large files over the internet, without burdening the original host with bandwith costs. Bit torrent works by dividing the files into small chunks, where every user is simultaneosly downloading a file while they upload to other users. This software was originally created to help distribute linux builds, but quickly became overcome by “pirates” searching for television, games and movies.Bit torrent was first considered to be a threat to the movie industry. In an excellent Wired interview in 2005 with bit torrent’s creator, Bram Cohen, this threat was highlighted by the Motion Picture Association of America, who began suing individuals downloading movies, in order to, as the MPAA’s antipiracy chief John Malcolm put it, “avoid the fate of the music industry.” But the reality is that most movies availiable on Bit torrent are usually bad quality, they are shot on low def cameras at a cinema, and include people walking in front of the lens, talking and generally being annoying etc. Shows broadcast on television on the other hand are generally ripped from a tivo like device, are esasily comprable with broadcast images, are ad free, and available almost immediately. Is it any wonder that television has become the most popular bit torrent choice.When Wired Magazine asked Bram Cohen if he would use bit torrent if he hadn’t invented it, he replied “I don’t know. There’s upholding the principle. And there’s being the only knucklehead left who’s upholding the principle.” Asked later if he thought his invention will lead to the downfall of cinema and television, he replied: “Take this new platform and mine it for gold… Hollywood, which squawked about VHS, figured out how to make billions off video rentals.” Traditional media shareholders are always scared of new forms of distribution which threaten their stranglehold on an established market. It’s why the RIAA sued people who used file sharing networks to download songs. Its also why the MPAA started suing bit torrent users. But creators of content need to realise that suing their customers is not the answer. For some reason, customers don’t like being sued.To take John Malcolm’s analogy further, i would hope the television industry will “avoid the fate of the music industry”, by not waiting till they have turned a generation into pirates before offering other options for free to air TV fans to watch the shows they love. Treat people like thieves and thats what they’ll become.A Nation of Pirates
Bit torrent usage in Australia is the worst kept secret on the internet. Technology and television forums across Australia are filled with posts about “watching the latest episode of (insert show here) on a recent trip to America.” My ISP says bit torrent accounts for about 45% of its internet traffic. Channel BT, as it is known, is the new reality.Even The Bleeding Edge, Fairfax newspaper’s technology blog, has written many guides for setting up bit torrent for the “downloading of Linux distros”. Fairfax, as a content producer and a major media player, can not be seen as supporting piracy. Yet they have even skirted the issue by suggesting “a friend of theirs” has used bit torrent to catch up on missed episodes of Desperate Housewives. Missed episodes? Or new episodes that haven’t aired in Australia?According to piracy tracking site Envisional’s recent studies, Australians are the greatest bit torrent users per capita in the world. Despite making up only 0.3 % of the world’s population, Australians account for 20% of bit torrent traffic. This is only set to increase as more and more Australians begin to use broadband. In 2005 only 30% of Australians connected to the internet had a broadband connection, by 2006, it was 51%. Critical mass of broadband has been achieved. This point is crucial in understanding “Channel Bit Torrent’s” sudden rise in Australia. An hour long television show is roughly 350mb’s, which would take around 14 hours to download on a dial up connection. A standard mp3 is about 3mbs, or 12 minutes.. It is for this simple reason, the size of the files in question, that music was the first battleground of internet piracy. High speed internet means television is the next major battleground.While there is no other option available, could it be that illegal downloading of television will only increase? With broadband adoption growing in Australia in 2006, piracy was blamed for the drop in viewers of the early episodes of the two hit imports of 2005, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Yet by the end of 2006, Desperate Housewives was actually rating better than it had in 2005. What can be gleaned from the implications of these ratings? Its hard to say, because comprehensive research has not been made in Australia that addresses bit torrent’s effect on ratings. My guess would be that the drop in ratings at the start of 2006 were from fans of the the show who had already donwloaded the new episodes that Channel Seven were showing. The later peak in viewership could be due to the buzz the downloaders (and new fans) of the show had created. Is it possible that for every viewer the networks lose to bit torrent, they gain three more from the ‘water cooler” effect?Channel BT
It sounds far fetched, but is it really? Battlestar Galactica is the show that defined bit torrent. Battlestar debuted in the U.K. in October 2004, but was delayed in the U.S. by the Sci Fi Network until January 2005. That didn’t stop the geeks in U.K hitting the internet and proclaiming Battlestar as the best new show in a decade, and uploading Battlestar on the relatively new network. When it finally debuted in the US, the word of mouth created by those who had bit torrented the show meant that Battlestar became the most watched show in The Scifi Channel’s history. This is a fascinating example because usually Americans, as the world largest producer of television, are normally the first audience in the world to watch new programs.It should be noted that in Australia, Battlestar was shown on Australian television during the non ratings period, at 1am for about 4 weeks, before unsurprisingly being axed. Despite this, it remains the most discussed Television show on Australian geek forums.It seems that consumers downloading episodes of a series via channel bt create demand and are extremely loyal viewers. Downloading a torrent takes a bit of effort, first to discover new shows, then to locate the files and join a swarm. It is not something most people with small download limits and low internet speeds can do on a whim. It also seems to me that channel bt increases sales of a series on DVD. How many people do you know with DVD box sets of Arrested Development, Firefly, The Soprano’s, or Lost? Ok, now how many of those people discover these show on Television or the internet?Where bit torrent is having major effects is on the serialized television shows, such as Prison Break, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica, that reward loyal viewers with in jokes and gradual plot development. Show like Law and Order and CSI are safer, because it really doesn’t matter if you miss an episode. Miss an episode of Battlestar, Prison Break, or Lost, and you could quickly find your self, well, lost.It will be interesting to see how Heroes rates when it debuts on Australian television. Heroes, the star performer of the current U.S. ratings war, is the perfect litmus test of this new reality. Heroes, with its science fiction bent and comic book motif, is the perfect candidate for bit torrent, because it appeals to a geeky audience, the kind of audience who are used to sourcing their own entertainment via the web. It is not surprising that everyone I know has already seen Heroes. What will be fascinating to see is whether our word of mouth advertising from the internet geeks turn Heroes into a hit, or whether the target audience will not bother watching because they have already seen it. My guess is the former.We are entering a new phase in television where TV and the internet converge. America, as one of the strongest producers of television content in the world, has been able to embrace the new albiet slowly, embrace this new reality. The major US networks offer downloads of their most popular shows the day after they have screened, at a small price through iTunes or Xbox Live!, or free through streaming (ads included) on their websites. Neither service is available outside of the U.S.The question is, would the average punter be prepared to pay a nominal fee for an episode that is guaranteed to be downloaded at the highest speed possible, or use a free bit torrent service whose speed is subject to the activity of “the swarm”, and could contain viruses. The US iTunes store suggests the answer is yes. Also, if a new method like iTunes becomes adopted by the majority, it will actually hurt internet piracy by removing people from the “swarm”, therefore slowing down torrent speeds. Sure, there will always be piracy on the internet, because there was always piracy before the internet. It is human nature. But iTunes has proven over a billion times around the world that when you give people the opportunity to do the right thing, more often than not they will.Hollywood had to deal with this global reality a few years earlier. Traditionally Hollywood films have had a ‘staggered’ release around the globe. For example, a blockbuster film released in the U.S. for the Thanksgiving Weekend (America’s highest grossing box office weekend) would be delayed in Australia until Boxing Day (our biggest movie going day). Online piracy destroyed this model, as pirated copies of films were distributed to eager fans who chose instant gratification over image quality. By 2003, all major Hollywood films were released simultaneously across the globe. Hollywood realized that giving consumers what they want, when they want, was better than holding out for the traditional schedules that had worked so long in the pre-internet era. Again, doesn’t this sound familiar?The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth
Lets look at bit torrents numbers again. The U.S, with a population of 300 million people, account for 7% of bit torrent traffic. Australia, with only 20 million people, accounts for 20% of all traffic. Is this really a surprise, when U.S audiences are offered a legal option to watch their favourite TV shows via the internet? CBS recently announced that the shows they offered as downloads or via streaming, had better ratings and more loyal fans. Surely the remarkable rise in ratings of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can be attributed to their cult status on You Tube.This dosen’t just effect TV from the US. Tony Martin joked that the ABC delayed screening Ricky Gervias Extras, because they wanted to wait until everyone who wanted to watch the show had either downloaded the series or bought the DVDs. Funnily enough, I heard this on the podcast of Get This. Why? Because i hate the music and advertisements Triple M plays, and i would rather download a Nickleback free version of the show than to listen to it live. In fact, i doubt i would have ever heard Get This had it not been released as a podcast. I think Tony Martin is Australias greatest comedian, but i never listened to him while he was only available via Triple M. Even Roy and H.G., who are on a network that plays music i enjoy, i still download as a podcast rather than listen to live.Why? Because i prefer to listern to them on monday morning than Sunday afternoon. It is the simple fact that the internet generation expects time shifting.Podcasting, like bittorrent, is still mainly a geek only persuit. But lately, I’ve been noticing a shift in the tone of media in general. The Media players seem to now be targeting geeks when commissioning film and television. Battlestar, Colbert, Heroes, Lost, are all shows with a geek following, and have all been rewarded because of it. Snakes on A Plane used geek marketing brilliantly to ensure a hugh opening weekend, but realised quickly that to live by the web means to die by the web. Despite all the hype, the content wasn’t good enough for Snakes on a Plane, and the geeks let the world know it. More recently, when Sho debuted the remarkable new series Dexter, they chose This Week In Tech as their marketing platform. Dexter became the networks biggest hit. The new reality is Geeks are the Tastemakers.Channel Ten seems to understand this new reality, screening new episodes of the o.c. and Jehrico soon after they have screened in the us. They have also started selling episodes of locally produced David Tench and Tripping Over through Bigpond.com, for those who may have missed an episode. It is interesting to note that Channel Ten targets a younger audience, those who are internet savvy, and may be willing to source their favourite shows through “non-traditional” channels. Ten have also released “best bits” podcasts of Thank God You’re Here and The Ronnie Johns Half Hour, and rather than hurt the ratings, Thank God Your Here has actually been the highest rating show of 2006. Channel Seven can fill its schedule with “Encore Presentations” of Lost or Desperate Housewives, but thats really not the answer. What are the people that miss the encore presentation going to do? Or those who miss the first four episodes?The key here is iTunes. Apples juggernaut now owns 88% of the legal download market worldwide, thanks to the success of the iPod. If legal television downloads are to overtake bit torrent usuage in Australia, those shows need to be available through iTunes. It is, to date, the only successful business model that is cross platorm.The End of The World As We Know It.
I really dont believe that Channel Bit torrent will negatively effect Australia Network ratings any time soon. In fact, for the time being I think us geeks will actually help network television by providing shows like Heroes a word of mouth buzz that no slick marketing campaign could ever hope to create. But television networks need to think closely about their long term future. Every angry fan that turns to channel bit torrent for their latest fix of Lost will be much harder to coax back to free to air television down the track. The longer a viewer becomes used to watching channel bt, free to watch, on demand and without ads, they will be harder to convince that what they are doing is wrong. And everytime a network representative defends this situation with word like “anyone using bit torrent is simply impatient or a theif” offends a massive group of extremely loyal television fans. When Channel BT finally starts to negatively effect network television ratings, it maybe too late. Treat people like thieves and thats what they become.
The Needle In A Haystack Effect.The web is a big place. So how do you find stories and sites that interest you? One of the best ideas to find gold in a sea of mediocrity is Digg. I love the idea of digg, and its RSS feed sits in my browser, but almost all of the content i see via rss i don’t bother clicking on. I mean how many times can you read about how cool the Wii is and how bad the PS3 is before you get bored. but once or twice a day i spot something brilliant.For the same reason I love Diggnation far more than digg. Because Kevin and Alex use editorial control to avoid the crap that usually appears on their site, to highlight the interesting stories instead.A mate of mine hates digg, but loves the editorially controlled Boing Boing, yet we both see most of the same stuff because anything on Boing Boing is usually dugg, and its usually something i’m interested in. Still, i get to show him all the stuff that boing boing didnt cover when i meet up with him.But thats what digg is. it would be like saying all television is shit because of all the reality tv shows, bad dramas, awful sitcoms etc. But that would be ignoring the Sopranos, Six Feet Under’s and Dexters.I think its a problem of web 2.0 in general. All the supposed Web 2.0 sites rely on user generated material and user generated rankings, but honestly, when was the last time you went to youtube and saw something worth watching? Ok, compare that number to the amount of times someone you know pointed you in the direction of a cool youtube clip. Sometimes, its better to be guided by editors.There is a lot to be said for editorial control. How many forums have you seen that are filled with twelve year olds telling you to “get bent, n00b”, i could name a few. But I’d rather celebrate the one public forum I’ve been a member of for 2 years now, Mactalk. The key group at Mactalk have shaped the forum into a welcoming place. The moderators, although never directly editing anyone, have made the forum great by making clear what is and is not acceptable. If our forums can be as half as good as theirs, i’ll be a very happy boy.So, what are my favourite sites? Apart from the ones listed above, there is Egotastic!, for all your trashy celebrity needs. For Australians reading this, think of it as all the stuff NW would like to print but their lawyers wont let them. Fleshbot, the thinking mans nudie site (NSFW). Ken Stone’s Final Cut Pro, the best guide to Final Cut on the web, all in one ugly website. Exetel, the hosts of this site, and for mine the best bang for buck ISP in Australia. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs a hilarious fake blog. More to come…Cheers,Pete.