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iam(still)kevin. » 2008» March

Archive for March, 2008

Internet + crying = get free stuff

Monday, March 24th, 2008

It has become increasingly apparent to me that if you want something free, just come up with a sob story, or maybe just a tale of mild discomfort, and people will do one of the following:

  • Give you free stuff
  • Raise money to get you free stuff
  • Harass the hell out of a company, sometimes when they are not at fault, so they will give you free stuff

Here’s what I mean:

Legit example: Erased Xbox 360 Art:  This is actually a case where the outcome was just and deserved.  In short, a dude collected custom art and autographs from Bungie folks on his Xbox 360.  Said 360 died, he sent it in to support after A) explicitly calling PSS to ensure that they not erase the art and B) putting a letter in the box asking not to erase the art.  They erased the art.

He sought help from the internet, the story got picked up by everybody and their mom (and your mom), and Bungie and Xbox heard about it and gave him beaucoup compensation.  Thumbs up!  Company makes a mistake, and makes good on it, twice over, even.

Bullshit story: Waah! my free pedal broke!  This is the part where people take advantage of internet bullying.  A guy WON A $2000 SHOPPING SPREE!  Among what he bought was Rock Band.  His pedal broke, lame, shoddy construction, etc..  He got the replacement pedal from EA, but instead of sending back the broken pedal, like you are supposed to, he tossed out the box, and the pedal.  EA charged him $125 like they said they would.  He cried, emailed Kotaku to see if he could get a pedal from someone else to send back, and they got a flood of emails with offers, plus EA is getting in touch with him personally to fix up the mistake which was his fault and not theirs.  That’s ridiculous, the guy messed up, and the internet took undeserved pity on him…

The first example, that’s all good.  Microsoft screwed up, and more or less deserved to make the guy’s situation better. But the second example?  That’s straight up whininess and a false feeling of entitlement when something goes wrong, something he did all by himself.  There are plenty of other good examples of the internet coming together to help others, but there are also enough dumb examples of the other to make it frustrating.

Paul linked a good article about this sort of thing, from the seattle times, on how as a generation we are becoming grown-up brats who think everything should revolve around us, blame others for our mistakes, and expect everyone to feel sorry for us and to make it all better.  I’m not saying the drum pedal dude is a bad guy, but I don’t see why he deserves attention for something that happens to a lot of people, so many that 3rd parties have made a business out of fixing the problem.  Did I mention that instead of paying for it like everyone else, he got it for free?  Oh well, that’s how it goes on the intertubes.

We should think of the good things that happen, not focus on the bad and feel entitled to have them fixed by everybody else.

Mike showed me another example of whininess - thankfully this one does not yet appear to have resulted in any undeserved special treatment.
Some whiny guy damaged his Macbook with water, and is horrified to learn that Apple support doesn’t offer a free service to send in your Mac and have its damage assessed. This is despite the fact that such an assessment would take a paid professional a decent amount of time to do - you can’t just look at electronics and see if they are fixable, you need special equipment. It is also despite the thousands of other people who are sending their damaged computers to get fixed. Someone has to do the work, and they get paid whether they fix it or not, so you’re going to have to pay to get the work done. When you take your car to the mechanic, you pay for labor time, even if they can’t fix it. It’s the same deal here. Take your computer to your local mom & pop store if you want a free damage assessment, i hope you’re not horrified when they can’t help you, what with not being employed in a position whose sole job it is to fix broken mac books.
Granted, the reply from “Steve” is pretty unsympathetic (and funny), but this guy doesn’t deserve any special treatment above anybody else.

Podcasts I listen to and/or watch

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I relatively recently started listening to those magical things called pod-casts, maybe 6 months ago or so, so i don’t know about too many, but here’s what i listen to on my way to work and back.

All Songs Considered (podcast) - NPR - "An eclectic mix of fresh music by emerging artists and breakout bands"
Music That Matters (podcast) - KEXP - "Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters bi-weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists."
Rock and Roll Report (podcast) - The Rock and Roll report features only indie and unsigned bands, no commercial or big label bands.

All Songs Considered and Music that matters sound like they’re about the same thing, but I like ASC a lot more than MTM, I guess I still don’t like hardcore indie music enough.  Both podcasts have a variety of music, but ASC has more that I like.

As for RARR, it’s generally pretty good, although sometimes it’s obvious why a band is unsigned. :)  RARRRRR!

Podcasts that make you (feel) smarter:
This American Life (podcast) - Chicago NPR - "There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but, like we said, it’s sort of hard to describe."  There’s no real constant theme to the show, it’s just funny, thoughtful, stories.
RadioLab (podcast) - WNYC - "Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility."

Both of these are really good.

WebbAlert (podcast)- "WebbAlert is Morgan Webb’s website and daily videocast, covering the day’s developments in tech news, video gaming, gadgetry, and digital culture. It’s engineered to keep tech-interested people current on the news and trends that move the industry with a small investment of just a few minutes per day."  in other words, 5 minute daily update on big tech news stories.

Bungie Podcast (podcast)- Bungie guys shooting the shit about their stuff, plus interviews (sometimes) with employees.  Usually pretty amusing, more interesting if you like Halo.
Major Nelson (blogcast) - e and major talking about games, and some interviews with game devs.
Blizzard Podcast (podcast)- SO BORING, though some Starcraft 2 info is interesting.  I skip the wow update discussions cause they are stupid.  also the main host guy sounds to stiff, he sounds very rehearsed.

The Onion Radio News (audio)
The Onion News Network (video)
Ask a Ninja (video)


Got any good ones i’m missing that i should check out?

sites i read

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

in an effort to blog something, anything, i shall list some of the sites i frequent.  I use netvibes to aggregate my RSS feeds, and here are some of the good ones i read:

General sites:
Snarkmarket: Run by a friend I’ve known since high school (robin), and one of his colleagues from the Poynter Institute for journalism (matt), Snarkmarket is the place to go for lots of interesting topics, not just journalism, among them internet trends, politics, games, tech, kind of whatever strikes their fancy.  robin was always my socially adept friend who knew a lot about lots of different things (As opposed to socially inept friends who were jeopardy and trivial pursuit answer repositories), and the site reflects it.

Baghdad Observer: I learned about it from Snarkmarket, here’s the blog’s own description: "Baghdad Observer is written by Leila Fadel, the Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. She has covered the war in Iraq for Knight Ridder and now McClatchy on and off since June 2005, as well as the 34-day war in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel in the summer of 2006."

Seattle Metblog: metro blog about Seattle, cause i live here.

Autoblog: honestly i don’t read most of the articles, but i do like to look at pictures of new cars.

nerdy sites:
io9 - scifi blog, with links to movie and tv stuff, books, and actual cool science.
engadget, gizmodo, techcrunch, slashdot, ars technica - do any of these really need a description?

nerdy subsection - games:
evil avatar, kotaku, joystiq, eurogamer - video game news aggregators
major nelson - major nelson.
co-optimus - newer blog, dedicated to co-op games
DonkeyXote tells all - The Xbox and Microsoft Games lawyer, posting about games, law in games, and random nerdy things he likes.
double fine action RSS Feed - these guys are funny
game girl advance - halo folks
UK Resistance - awesome anti-sony blog

Artsy sites:
XKCD blag - should probably go under nerdy sites, the blog of the dude who does 
A Softer World - not quite a comic, black humor
Cool hunting - stuff… that is cool.
The Sartorialist - people dressing better than you.  usually.
TCritic, iloveyourtshirt - t-shirt blogs.  i have a problem with t-shirts.
Wild Light - beautiful photographs of nature.
Drawn! - links to cool art and cartooning stuff
PostSecret - send this guy secrets on a post card.

Retarded: The FAIL blog -  blog of fail

Obligatory: Boing Boing

Next time - Podcasts!

woo, i killed my blog

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I tried out Windows Live Writer over the weekend, and in doing so, i messed up my .htaccess file so that everything was throwing 500 errors.
That has been fixed now, though in trying to fix it I restored my backed up database and lost a post, but it’s saved at home.

the support guys at ICCsoft were quite helpful.