Archive for the ‘Exaspirations’ Category

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Exaspirations: Avatar’s Duplicitous Earth Day Release

April 21, 2010

As a way to supposedly celebrate Earth Day, 20th Century Fox is releasing Avatar on Blu-ray and DVD.  The film’s environmentally friendly message is deemed a perfect fit with the annual environmentally friendly day.  So what’s the issue?

The DVD and the Blu-ray/DVD combo discs being released are as bare bones as you can get.  Just the movie.  No extras, no specials, no trailers.  No extended scenes, no commentaries, no making-of, nothing but the movie.  Why?  So in November they can release it again as a Special Edition, and next year they can release it again with 3D!  To placate buyers, the 1st release will contain a code for viewing some bonus content online, and reportedly a coupon for the November release.

Are you kidding me?!!?  To honor the Earth, 20th Century Fox is releasing 3 versions of the same film, which with Blu-ray and DVD will amount to at least 6 different cardboard and plastic packages!  Because I’m sure people won’t buy a better version down the road (with the provided coupon no less) and dump this neutered release in the nearest landfill.  Way to take care of your pocketbook the planet, James Cameron… you are a shyster an inspiration to us all!

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Exaspirations: My PS3’s “10 Year Life Cycle”

March 1, 2010

What the hell happened to my PlayStation 3’s 10-year life cycle?  In 2006 Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Kaz Hirai stated:

We look at our products having a 10-year life cycle, which we’ve proven with the PlayStation. Therefore, the PlayStation 3 is going to be a console that’s going to be with you again for 10 years. We’re not going to ask the consumers to suddenly buy another PlayStation console in five years time, and basically have their investment go by the wayside.

This was reiterated over and over in the early days of the PS3 when Sony’s console sales were in the toilet.  Well it’s been a little over 3 years since the PlayStation 3 launched in the U.S. and it seems like lately I’ve had nothing but trouble with my original 60GB 1st gen PlayStation 3.  First, Batman: Arkham Asylum started freezing on me in late August.  Then I got the God of War Collection, and it freezes on me on the first boss battle in the first God of War game!  And then starting yesterday, PlayStation 3’s across the globe started having glitches such as error codes, lost trophies, and unplayable games (to which Sony advised owners not to even turn their consoles on!).  The common thread here?  These are all issues with non-Slim PlayStation 3 consoles, a.k.a. PS3 Fat’s or PS3 Phat’s.

So am I going to have to buy the new PS3 Slim three years into my console’s famed “10 year life cycle” in order to get a console that works properly all the time with new and older games?  As far as I know, the problem with Batman: Arkham Asylum and the God of War Collection are known issues that have never been patched or fixed.  And as of this post, the current worldwide issue is apparently magically fixed, though no explanation has yet been given for what happened or what Sony will do to prevent it in the future.  Coincidence or Planned Obsolescence?  I want my 1st gen console to work with every game, every time, just like the latest gen one.  I want my promised 10-year life cycle!

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Exaspirations: Serving Size

January 19, 2010

According to the infallible source known as Wikipedia:

Serving sizes on Nutrition Facts Labels are loosely based on the amount of a product normally eaten in one sitting or reference amounts, determined from nationwide food consumption surveys.

I call Bullsh*t!

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Exaspirations: Media Spin

December 1, 2009

So how were Black Friday sales this year?  That depends on who you listen to, and what story they want you to hear.  If you look at the headlines today, you probably have no clue.  Online shopping both gains and drops on the same day.  Total sales were up 13% or down 8.6% on the same day.  How?  Well, for online shopping, the number of visitors to online websites decreased, but total dollars spent increased.  In total, spending was up this year, but the average amount that the individual shopper spent decreased.

So what really matters?  To everyone but the news media, the economic impact of Black Friday is in total dollars spent.  Wal*Mart doesn’t care how many people visited their website last Friday.  They care about how much money they made.  Sears doesn’t care that Judy spent $50 less this year than last year, so long as their total revenues are up.  So why are we inundated with news stories about statistics that don’t really matter?  Because the news media sets their own agenda, despite their claims at impartiality.  If they want the news to be good, they’ll spin it good.  If they want it to be bad, they’ll spin it bad.

Keep that in mind next time you read a news story or catch a talking head on TV.  You’re only hearing what they want you to hear.

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Exaspirations: Mobile News Units

October 9, 2009

van

Ever notice that the news stations will send a mobile unit to the scene of a news event hours and hours after the event occurred.  Does this make their coverage better?

10 pm newscast: “We’re live at the 1st Bank downtown, which was the scene this morning at 8 o’clock of an armed robbery.  As you can see, all is quiet now, but this morning, it was pandemonium.”  (cut to previous footage)

Of course it’s quiet… it’s 14 hours later, at a time when the place wouldn’t even be open anyway!  Or how about…

12 noon newscast: “It’s back to business as usual here at the airport, where yesterday afternoon a man tried to bypass security and was chased down by TSA officials.  Reporting live from outside the airport, I’m Joe Schmuck.”

The event happened yesterday, and inside where they won’t even let your cameras in, not outside where you are standing!  Why the hell are you there??

Do they have to justify the cost of their mobile units this way?  Do they get a tax break on the expense if they use it so many times a year?  It’s no wonder these roving reporters get so worked up when they see something live, since most of their time is spent standing in front of some place where something interesting happened half a day ago without them!

Can you tell I don’t enjoy watching the news…

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Exaspirations: Corporate Greed… err, Green

September 30, 2009

earthYou gotta love the hypocritical companies that push electronic billing down your throat by promoting how “green” they are.  Some are starting to make it mandatory!  In reality, it translates into more money in their coffers and and less service for you.  The credit card companies are the worst.  For every tree they supposedly save by not sending me a paper copy of my bill, they cut down a forest sending out promotional mailings to get people to sign up for a card.  And if I just happen to forget to pay my bill because I don’t have a copy of it sitting in front of me?  Oh darn, more money for them when they charge me a late fee and jack up my rate.  There are plenty of things they could really do rather than foist this charade on their customers.  (For an interesting environmental take, see the Myth Calculator in the environmentalist section of Paul Lavelle’s website.)

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Exaspirations: Download Managers

September 30, 2009

dmWhat the hell is up with websites that force you to download and install a download manager in order to download something you really want?  Electronic Arts made me download one of these just to download a computer game.  Amazon wants me to download its download manager to download a simple .mp3 file.  You know, the way the internet works, you can download things without a freakin’ corporate ad-filled proprietary download program clogging up your computer!  Grrrr.

What’s worse is, it’s usually for content you just PAID for!  And they make you download and install some nasty program just to download it to your machine.  And probably spin it so it make it seem like you should be grateful that they provide such a thing!  Oh lucky us!

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