Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TWIT hypocrisy part 2? ----- The TWIT Live Special of the Microsoft Surface Event

I'll keep this short....

We all know that TWIT appears to regularly violate other people's copyrights with its "Live Specials."  In the same breath they'll bully users of it's own content even when compliant with their purported "Creative Content" licensing.

So today we had yet another "questionable" example of wanton abuse of someone else's copyright in the form of a "TWIT Live Event" covering the Microsoft Surface announcement.

Now to be completely honest,  Microsoft isn't as explicit about rebroadcasting of it's live events as Apple but I did find a general statement of use of the company's Intellectual Property (or IP) that extends to online content.

As such, I managed to dig up a few sections where TWIT could be in violation of their Terms of Use for Copyrighted Content.

Specifically:  (from the Microsoft website)

"Offensive Use"

"Your use may not be obscene or pornographic, and you may not be disparaging, defamatory, or libelous to Microsoft, any of its products, or any other person or entity."

Laporte and Paul Thurrott repeatedly offered commentary during the "Live Event" that could be considered disparaging of the presenters especially Panos Panay.


"Link Methods"

"You may link to Microsoft content by using either a plain text link with words such as "This way to" or by participating in an applicable Link Logo program. No other images may be used as a link to a Microsoft site."

Everybody else provided a hyperlink to the event.  TWIT decided to embed it in their own content and context.  If it were an Apple event there'd be no question how big a NO NO that is.

As for the actual event..

Surface tablets and a big all-in-one called "Surface Studio" that folds down into a desk with a big knob you can put on the screen...

Who cares...this article is about hypocrisy not another boring product launch from a company desperate to be relevant.  

BTW, I'm referring to Microsoft but the observation could apply equally to TWIT...

At the end Leo wrapped up the "coverage" in his trademark style with a live read of a "Blue Apron" ad.

Nice of Microsoft to provide content for Leo's "reaction video" and Blue Apron to pay for it with an ad read.  

Maybe the term "reaction video" is incorrect.  Reaction videos usually don't violate commercial copyrights of whatever's being "reacted" to.

Here's the proof straight from the horse's ass...err mouth...


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Get a Job!

Yeah you!

If I were you I'd be knocking on every door.  You need to make some money!

This is a discussion (more of an argument)  I actually had with a relative.  Mind you, I'm not some Instagram obsessed teenager laying around the house binging on Netflix.  For god's sake!  I'm in my 40's.

I can't afford to binge on anything.  That's what's so irritating.

It's one thing to be 20-something and have trouble finding work.  Nobody judges you.  Your frustration has more to do with unbridled ambition than a perceived character flaw.

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you know my story.  I've worked....hard.  I've ticked off all the boxes; College, career, sacrifice, frugality.  I followed the rules, kept my options open and always kept an ear to the ground.

All seemingly for nothing.  

I had a fairly stable living for many years that allowed me to not only better myself but my family.  Now that same family is harder to deal with than a bill collector.

I understand their disillusionment.  For a long time I was looked at as the guy who always seemed to be able to keep it together.  I took adversity with aplomb (well mostly, I do tend the bitch a lot) 

These days I can barely afford to feed myself.  To them it must seem like I've given up.

Thing is, I haven't but I'm far more disillusioned and frustrated than they are.  

There was a time when there was always a fallback position.  If you couldn't find work in your own field you could at least find something to keep you going til you did.

It doesn't take much investigation to find confirmation of what I always suspected was true.  That being that regardless of the unemployment numbers and Wall Street rallies there are still way too many barriers to making a living.

Minimum wage hasn't kept up with the cost of living for a generation but worse than that the competition for jobs that offer it is staggering.   Look at the candidates for these jobs and you find everything from the high school kid to PhD's. 

Those who've never suffered the indignity of rejection for a low wage job don't understand.  They believe there are still jobs whose only requirement is a warm body.  

They're wrong.

These days even flipping burgers requires training on your own dime just to obtain a food handler's card.  With that in hand you're well on your way to 25 hours a week crafting Angry Whoppers for the princely sum of $8.05/hr.   Oh yeah, with benefits too, if you can afford the payroll deduction....

It gets worse....

Now we're hearing an uproar over raising the minimum wage to something in line with what it actually costs to live somewhere other than your car.  

"It'll cause higher unemployment!" 
"We can't afford to pay more!"  
" It'll break the back of small business!"

Which ticks me off even more.  While all these "job creators" game the system to overwork and underpay their current employees, they place hurdles in the way of new hires to ensure nothing changes.

There's no way around it and if you don't understand what I'm about to say I'm sorry but you're either bloody stupid or worse a selfish bastard.

Hiring someone full time for a wage they can't live on in a first-world country is institutionalized slavery.

Offering only part time hours and scheduling employees so that it's impossible for them to get another part time job is even worse.  As an employer you're effectively forcing your workforce into poverty for no other reason than greed.

Don't give me that crap about high labor costs either.  If you can't afford the means to sell your product you don't have a damned clue about how to properly run a business. 

Employees are your partners not your slaves.  Paying them shouldn't be looked at as "an inconvenience."

It's no different than the argument from the Southern states that led to the Civil War.  Let's get one thing perfectly clear here.  Lincoln was no great abolitionist, he was a nationalist. He was far more open to compromise: even those that would include continuing slavery if it would have kept the country together.  The Civil war was about human rights only as much as the space program was about inventing freeze dried coffee.

That's historical fact.

Meaning any business, especially BIG business that argues against a livable wage is taking the same position as the Civil War South.  For them it was about cheap labor to improve their bottom line.

Sound familiar?

In America, it's not about some misguided fantasy of climbing the ladder of success.   it's about production at the lowest possible cost.  That means near poverty wages to keep an unskilled workforce forever unskilled and powerless.   Now add in the yoke of the "Credit Economy" that exists only to perpetuate itself.  A faceless beast fed by the poor.  By the way, that includes you if you're only one paycheck from financial disaster. 

It's hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if the boots have a 29% interest rate.

We, all of us of unfortunate birth are increasingly subject to the indecencies of an inadequate paycheck that won't even cover the basic necessities.  

It's nothing less than indentured servitude.

Which comes to people like me.  I'm not unskilled but I'm not especially talented either.  So I'm right there with you.

I hear a lot of, "You're a top candidate" when applying for jobs in my field only to not get the job.  A bit too much of hearing that lately meaning I've taken to applying for "seasonal" positions with local retail stores.

Even then the whole premise is twisted..

Questions like, " Why do you want to work here?"  Duh!  I need money and you're supposedly hiring.  Of course you can't say that.  You have to come up with some bullshit about a life change and trying new things and ground floors for new starts, blah, blah, blah.

You're actually better off if you never did anything with your life.  Otherwise that 6 figure resume becomes another hurdle to overcome fighting for a job you don't really want for a wage you can't really afford.

BTW, it's damned hard to dumb down a professional resume for $8.05/hr.  Nobody's going to believe you've been sitting on your ass for 30 years of your life.  The background check ( that they all run ) will show your lie anyway.  So no, acting stupid isn't an answer...

Who the hell actually prepares a resume for a minimum wage retail job anyway?  What are you going to say?  Stocked shelves, greeted customers, kissed ass?  All that crap fits on the application.  Resume's are for the jobs you work after you get the hell out of retail.

Anyway, more to the point: that there's any expectation that working retail is a great career move is lunacy.  I know, it's what I did when I was in high school 1000 years ago and I knew I didn't want to do it when I was my age now. 

Give me a break.  Once everyone's returned their Christmas gifts and yanked down the baubles and twinkly lights you're out the door buddy.  

If'someone like me is on your doorstep looking for work, I'm fucking serious about being there.  I've taken a deep breath, swallowed my pride and committed to the relationship.

By the way, never, ever tell me I need to swallow my pride.

I've been so beaten up that I don't have any left.  I've seriously entertained a job delivering and cleaning port-a- potties.  The only thing that stopped me was the lack of a commercial driver's license and being in my 40's.  Meaning I'm not sure I can lift 100 pounds 30 times a day every day on a job with no health benefits.  ( That's what the ad actually said BTW )

I'm mad as hell that I'm being denied a living ( as corrupt as the word is in this country) and even angrier when someone assumes I'm not doing enough to improve my situation.

I'm also sick of being judged by people who don't deserve the jobs they have.  Worse, when they cast aspersions on someone like me who's been in the field longer than they've been out of high school.  

That sounds arrogant but remember, I know from whence I speak.  Most of the people I've interviewed with (with rare exception) got their positions through the buddy system. I only say that because part of my interview preparation involves looking them up on LinkedIn.  I've found IT directors whose last job was a sales director and others with no IT or management training at all.  

I really don't care how they got their jobs just so long as it doesn't have an effect on me getting hired.  Unfortunately, it does...

It's an old boys network and I DO MEAN old BOYS.  I've yet to meet a female IT director.  I doubt I'd have as much bullshit if I did.  The nice thing about having a female manager is that chances are she's gone through a lot of crap to get where she is.  That tends to minimize the games because she just doesn't have the time for it.  

It's natural for the male of the species to feel threatened when someone better than him has come along even if he gets to boss you around.   In my experience women don't engage in that kind of pissing contest.

If you think this is just a bunch of whining and excuses then put yourself in my shoes for a minute.

You're in you 40's, lost all your income and can't replace it.  Nobody takes you seriously when you apply for low-wage jobs and your relatives don't want to talk to you unless you're sending them a check.

Pull myself up by my bootstraps?  My boots have holes in the soles buddy.

It doesn't stop me but what slows me down is your misinformed judgement.  I'm putting it out there, no agenda but to survive.  

Until you know what I'm going through (and I'm pretty sure most don't) keep your admonitions to yourselves and thank your creator that you don't have to be here.

I won't quit but I know a lot of people that dismiss me would have long ago.

That makes me better than them and if nothing else, that's worth living for.  There needs to be a change and perhaps I need to feel the effects to understand how badly it needs to happen.

Livable wage now!  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Self-centered Prick


No, this isn't an article bashing Trump but it does have something to do with him.  That "something" is a label that often brands those undeserving of it.

It's a label that's often only a superficial representation of the myriad of perceived character flaws exhibited by those who at least on the surface fit the remark.

I'll admit that I've felt the sting of it myself.  The accusers used kinder terms like: arrogant, overconfident or entitled but that's only because they're uttered in mixed company.  The real meaning is: Self-centered Prick.

Did I deserve it? In their mind I did but it doesn't matter.

Once you're branded as such, there's not much point in defending against it.  To do so just proves the point to the prosecution.

Maybe that's why Trump never apologizes.  You can't admit a mistake without owning the flaw and as we all know, everything about Trump is, "Fabulous, never better."

But more to the point...

I've leveled the barb myself and of course I was right to do so.....Uh Oh....maybe I am a self-centered Pr...

Perception is rarely reality.  We color our views with our own experience.  Whatever we're going through now is viewed through that lens.  

Even if it's a family member, if something they're doing ( or NOT doing ) is affecting YOU in some way and they won't acknowledge it to your satisfaction, I can guarantee the phrase will at least briefly come to mind.

Thing is, who's the bigger devil here?  If you're only concerned with yourself how are you any better than the other guy?  If you won't take the time to see things through their eyes, their experience and their beliefs then who's the real "prick?"

I don't make excuses for people that deserve the charge.   We're all products of our environments and if that's a negative thing and we don't try to change it then the label is deserved.

But an attack is rarely left unanswered.  The conflict only escalates and in our society conflict sells.  We even encourage snap judgement without further reflection.  It's a world with little more patience than the life of a paparazzi's flash bulb.

Everything is black and white.  You're guilty or not.  No time for evidence or reflection.  Why waste time moving past the first impression when it fits so neatly into our safe, uncomplicated view of the world.

If there's anything from the Star Wars prequels I liked it was one quote.  

"Only a Sith deals in Absolutes"  - Obi Wan Kenobi

Sith's are bad people, you don't want to be a Sith.  

Nobody is completely right or wrong and by extension you know nothing about anyone if you don't bother to listen to them first.

You have a right to an opinion, don't waste it with unilateral decisions based on petty evidence.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricanes are nothing to take lightly and if you're in an area subject to them please, please listen to your public safety officials and move out when they tell you to.  Far too many think they can "Ride it Out" only to find out nature had other plans.

Property can be replaced, lives can't.

With that in mind witness the power of a Category 4 hurricane as it thrashes the Southeastern coast of the United States.  This is the only safe way to have a front row seat...