Culture: September 2002 Archives
September 24, 2002
Okay, Captain Euro Goes to Sunnydale is brilliant. Mac captures the voices of the characters absolutely perfectly (and incidentally, the political commentary is pretty decent too):
XANDER: So this is what you do, huh? You roll into town in your tights and insult people with your nose-up-in-the-air attitude? I need any insulting done, I can get it at home, I don't need your contribution.
SPIKE: And I'll insult him.
XANDER: Right, Spike can insult me. Lord knows, that's the only way he ever gets to hurt anyone anymore.
SPIKE: Mate, don't push your luck.
XANDER: Or what, you'll have a headache at me? Bring it on, blondie.
September 18, 2002
Every so often Penny Arcade is brilliant:
Let's say you want to advertise your candy - or "lolly" - on the radio and television. You could pay a set amount of money for access to thirty-second or minute slot. Or, and here's an idea, you can make a song by a "band" whose name is the product you're trying to sell, and get it into rotation on stations and have them play it for you… The production of Pop Hits being a largely mechanical enterprise, it will not be difficult to suitably emulate the music of the moment. I don't know what the going rate is for payola, but my hunch tells me it compares favorably with actual ad spots. Customers can then go out and purchase your advertising, and they will, because they're fucking retards.
The PA post was, of course, set off by EA's double deal with McDonald's and Intel for product placement in The Sims Online. I have to say I find the EA/McDonald's/Intel deal amusing -- I can't for one minute imagine that anyone will go out and buy an Intel-based computer because they saw their Sims playing a game on it; nor can I imagine someone choosing the Golden Arches over Burger King because their online Sim makes their simoleans selling fries. This isn't any different from standard product placement in a movie or television show.
The Starburst issue, on the other hand, is more interesting.
Epic Records Group has taken the drastic step of sealing CD players shut and gluing headphones onto them to stop digital copies being made from promotional albums. The albums involved are Riot Act by Pearl Jam and Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos.
This is getting ridiculous. First of all, I would think most reviewers have their own sound systems, which they probably have set up to reproduce music the way they like it. Those sound systems are probably more capable than portable CD players cheap enough that Epic was willing to throw them away on reviewers.
Second of all, this doesn't even really make pirating the CD much harder. Sure, you can't remove the CD from the player, pop it into your computer, and rip it. Sure, you can't pull out the headphone cord and replace it with a direct cable to the audio in on your soundcard. What you can do is cut the headphone cord, strip the cut ends, go buy a $2 audio cord from Radio Shack, cut one end off, strip those ends, and twist the headphone cord with the audio cord. Then plug the audio cord into your audio in and you're good to go.
The only real effect this has is making the recording companies look more desperate -- and more incompetent. Their last two tries at "copy protection" have been defeated by a Sharpie and a pair of scissors. Why don't they just give up?
Saw it first at Ars.
September 11, 2002
The world is a complicated place. It was a complicated place on 9/10/2001, and it's an equally complicated place today. I have no doubt that it will still be a complicated place on 9/11/2003 as well. 9/11 didn't simplify things, nor complicate them; on a macro scale, I don't even think it actually changed much.
This post was actually written on 9/12, but I have backdated it to the night before so that it will show up if anyone goes looking for that date on my blog.