Sorny

[3F11] Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

Homer: [gasps] Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
Bart: Don’t be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.
Homer: Pfft. I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there’s Magnetbox and Sorny.

People often ask me why I refuse to buy Sony products. Indeed, I boycott Sony, and I am not the one to hold a grudge against evil multinational corporations. The level of incompetence on the high levels of Sony’s management disgusts me.

I used to be inspired by the story of Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita starting a company in bombed Tokyo, and growing it from a radio repair shop into a giant corporation. I loved my Walkman, and thoroughly enjoyed the Playstation. I used to buy Sony Trinitron monitors which were brighter and sharper than the competition, but had visible horisontal lines formed by support wires made out of tungsten.

Over they years I felt that the quality of Sony products declined, while the company stopped to innovate and instead began to rely on brute force. They mostly missed the MP3 revolution. Instead they started to figh format wars.

The MiniDisk, the Memory Stick, Blu Ray: Sony would stop at nothing to control the format. They won with the CD and Blu Ray, lost with Betamax and just about everything else. None of these formats made me want to buy Sony products, and I’m very grateful that I don’t have to.

Sony would not stop at what’s legal – they even resorted to hacking their users’ computers – some Sony CDs installed rootkits on Windows machines in the name of copy protection! This is equivalent to breaking into your apartment just to make sure that you haven’t stole anything.

Normaly Hanlon’s Law is in effect, but I highly doubdt that things like these are benign byproducts of Sony being a large corporation. It seems like lawyers are doing a lot of thinking at Sony, and they aren’t thinking about winning people over.

Instead of trying to make their technology cooler, Sony through its lawyers started sending cease and desist letters to people who did things like making handmade iPod cases or toy racing cars out of outmoded Walkmen (I can’t find the original article mentioning the lawsuit about the racecars, but I remember reading it).

Then came the last drop. My wife runs a website about pipe organ event that she coded herself. She included an Amazon store that randomly showed different music-related items – it was a proprietory piece of software over which she had a rather limited control.

Sony employs a company called Net Enforcer that sends out DMCA takedown notices whenever they think they see any unauthorized “retailers” selling Sony products. My wife’s store’s algorithm used to include some Sony products sold by Amazon. Rather than dealing with the offending items, Dreamhost simply took down the whole store and notified me.

NetEnforcers would have you believe that they are protecting Sony’s brand, not letting various riffraff sell Sony products. I had to spend a good deal of time trying to figure out how to fix my wife’s store and not include any Sony products. As a result I refuse to buy any Sony brand electronics. I’m pretty sure this is not what Akio Morita would approve of.

Being Dead Wrong

I like to think that I have a great intuition and am very good at predicting things. I also sometimes feel that I suffer from the Cassandra syndrome, as people don’t listen to my prediction as much as I would like them to.

This made me think about the times when I made ridiculously bad predictions. Here’s a list of what comes to mind off the bat:

1. When I was young I thought that programmers will soon write a computer program for writing computer programs, and that computer programming as a profession does not have much of a future.

2. I thought that architectural drawings will always have to be done by hand, as you can’t print out plans on dot matrix printers (the only printers I’ve seen at the time). I thought, sure, you can program some straight lines and such, but you’ll never get beautiful detailed drawings with all kinds of details.

3. I thought that Handspring would become the dominant player on the handheld market the same way that IBM did: by opening up the peripheral standards.

4. I thought that Diamond Rio would be huuuge and that Diamond Multimedia would become the hottest company ever because they were first on the market with an mp3 player.

5. I thought that Apple would just shrivel up and die, and if not, that I would certainly never completely switch to Macs.

Whewww, man. Those are some doozies. How about you, my readers?

Coby TF-DVD7050 7-Inch TFT Portable Tablet-Style Portable DVD Player

Coby Electronics is a manufacturer of quality consumer electronics products designed to deliver outstanding performance for value conscious consumers who do not compromise on product performance. Coby incorporates new designs with innovative technologies to produce great looking and great performing consumer electronics products.PRODUCT FEATURES:7″ Widescreen (16:9) Color TFT Display;Plays DVD/MP3/CD/CD-RW;Built-in Anti-skip Circuitry;Headphone Jack for Private Listening;Compatible with NTSC/PAL System;Multiple Subtitles/Viewing Angles;Convenient On Screen Display.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Jingle All Ma Bells

Manhole tents are used to provide protection from rain and falling pedestrians, as well as to keep all the delicious asbestos inside.

Upon seeing this tent the first thing that came to my mind was – hey, shouldn’t it say Verizon? I guess it would be too expensive to rebrand all the manhole tents.

I also remembered the old radio jingle “We’re All Connected, New York Telephone”. I wonder if anyone created an mp3 of it. I think later New York telephone became NYNEX (can’t make a jingle out of that, can you?), then Bell Atlantic and then Verizon. And with Verizon, instead of a melodic jingle we got the stupid dork saying “can you hear me?” in commercials.

I was very amazed when the unholy union of NYNEX, Bell Atlantic and GTE (you can read all about crazy little Bell matings here) they decided that all of their brands with years of history (apparently history of bad customer service) were not worth crap and decided to come up with a new name.

Yes, it looks like maybe one of them Voice Over IP companies will create a good jingle. It’s not that hard – Sirius Satellite Radio has an awesome jingle (unfortunately I can’t find an example online).

Top 10 Reasons Why Deadprogrammer Left Livejournal

1) Old entries are hard to get to: “back n entries” works only for a while, after that you need to go day by day. Which makes paging through a blog that is not updated daily a nightmare.

2) Can’t run ads.

3) The degenerate “friends” system with it’s stupid add/remove politics. It’s better to read stuff in an aggregator.

4) Livejournal is widely known for drama and teenage angst. Having a Livejournal blog is similar to having an AOL email – it doesn’t matter that the famous hacker JWZ has one. People will still think that you are a loser.

5) No categories. You have to keep a separate journal if you want to give your readers an ability to read only stuff that interests them. I want to write some entries in Russian, but do not want to have a separate journal for that. Also some of my readers might be interested in my photos, but not in what I think about Livejournal.

6) Constant outages, lost posts, slowness and other technical fun. What else can you expect if you share your servers with a million teenagers frantically refreshing their “friends lists”.

7) No trackback.

8) Image hosting that is still in beta, but a fully released “phonepost” system that instead of using MP3 format uses OGG. I spent a couple of hours trying to find a player that would actually play these files when I click on them, but for the most part miserably failed. Those are a couple of hours of my life that I’ll never get back. I mean, what the hell is wrong? You click on a file, the player opens, but doesn’t play anything. You click play button – nothing. You click again…. Arrrgh, it’s driving me nuts!

9) No web logs – you have no idea how many people actually read your stuff. The only indicators that you might have are how many “friends” you have and how many comments you get (both of which are poor indicators). Since you can’t run JavaScript, you can’t have a reliable third party tracker either. I’ve had a visitor from northropgrumman.com at my new shiny (well, not so shiny yet) MT based site, and I would not have know that if it was still at Livejournal. Hey, Northrop Grumman reader, who are you?

10) If you set an article with a future date in Livejournal, instead of showing up if your readers lists normally, it sometimes disappears. There’s a bug there somewhere.

Livejournal does have a superior comment system, but since I don’t get too many comments it doesn’t matter that much.

Did you expect the Spanish Inquisition? No? Well, nobody does. But it brings you 11th reason:

11) No integrated search.