Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Relevant Advert" Is A Contradiction

I'm in the middle of a market research survey that's asking me a whole bunch of questions about how much invasion of my privacy I'm willing to tolerate in order to receive more "relevant" adverts. The questions are all multiple choice, as usual, so let me spell it out for them here:

An advert is irrelevant BY DEFINITION. That's why you have to pay money to show it to me.

Are we clear now? Yes? Good.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dispatches from Marketer World: Part 4— Tablets

Tablet PCs. Those things that are like laptops but don't have a keyboard or a proper operating system or any proper applications— just limited cut-down stuff they have to call "apps" for legal reasons. Or maybe they're mobiles you can't actually make calls on. They have some use, but you could invariably buy a laptop that does all of the same things as a tablet and more, but is also cheaper. Unless, of course, you get a knockoff tablet like the Shenzhen Haina Haipad, which barely works. I've mentioned tablets before (scroll down), and NO, I didn't sacrifice my principles at the same alter as when I bought the smartphone.

Apparently tablet PCs are all the rage among the easily swayed, to the point that they've effectively cannibalised the netbook market, although admittedly that's only because Apple doesn't make a netbook and people will rush out to buy anything Apple makes because they're mad.

Well apparently, as of the market research survey I took the other day, tablets are now something marketers simply assume that you own. In exchange for enough money to buy a tank of petrol for my three-inch-long model car, I provided my opinions on various brands (and it's always brands, innit) of electronic and whether I owned them and whether I'd consider buying them and similar drivel.

In this survey, it was simply assumed that I owned a tablet, and that I would buy another tablet when it broke or got stolen or couldn't run the latest update to "Where's the Rope's Angry Fruit" or a marketer told me it was obsolete or out of fashion or whatever.

They made a point of asking me whether I'd heard of Samsung and Motorola, in case I lived on the moon and wasn't at least familiar with the existence of major multinational corporations with advertising budgets bigger than the GDP of Namibia, but that I owned a tablet was simply assumed since even people who live on the moon own tablets because it's required by law.

Maybe it's because the names "Samsung" and "Motorola" are brands and marketers' obsession with brands makes them perpetually anxious that you won't have heard of theirs or won't emotionally connect with theirs, while the idea that you may not want their product because it's useless and expensive and the label has nothing to do with it never crosses their minds.

So yes. In marketer world, that you own an entirely redundant wad of electronics is simply assumed, but that you're at least dimly aware of the existence of Samsung and Motorola must be carefully ascertained because many people have never heard of massive multinational Japanese and Indian tech companies respectively. (That's what those are, right?)

At this point, clever people will have noticed that in the first paragraph I referred to a sacrificial location as an "alter" and, being clever, they got the joke in that I was sacrificing my principles and thus "altering" them. If you are observant but not clever, and thus noticed the "incorrect" term but didn't understand why it was used, then please refrain from commenting. It will only embarrass us both.

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Media Habits (Part 1.5): Bromine Eaking Barium D

The show "Breaking Bad" spells its name with the periodic table squares for bromine and barium, so I cannot possibly be blamed for pronouncing the full name of the two elements involved.

This show is not receiving a proper My Media Habits post because I quit midway through due to extremely high shit quotients but here goes.

A chemistry teacher learns he has terminal-ish cancer so decides to sell methamphetamine to provide for his family. Thus beginning the worst character development arc I've ever seen for a protagonist.

I suppose Walter White's transition from mild-mannered teacher to murderer is supposed to be the entire premise of the show, but it strikes me as unrealistic faff. I buy that a teacher who just learned he had cancer might put his skills to use cooking illegal drugs. I buy that he might seek out the advice of a junkie drug dealer with regard to the selling of said drugs. But that he would maintain absolute loyalty to said junkie despite his repeated failures is a stretch. That he would murder is a very big stretch; combine a massive mid-life crisis with having little left to lose still isn't enough to drive Mr. Vanilla to actually kill in cold blood. That Walter White would murder on behalf of the junkie he's mysteriously loyal to takes my suspension of disbelief and pummels it with a Wall Banger bat. Or wall. Or whatever.

In fact, Breaking Bad is at least a championship contender in making me scream at the screen: "PEOPLE DO NOT ACT THAT WAY." I would list many of those moments but I forgot most of them and I'm sure as balls not watching the show again for the sake of half a review.

They do earn extra credit for having an actual phone number and website set up for the sleazy lawyer— I like out-of-show peripheral bonuses like that. Unfortunately, those bonus features are like a delicious buttercream frosting— you wouldn't eat it on its own, and you certainly wouldn't eat it if it were spread on a turd.

Medium: Television
Genre: Action/Crime
Availability: Telly, Netflix
Bechdel Compliance: No
Rating: High on meth, low on quality.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Special Offers?"

I recently learned that popular online retailer Amazon sells a version of their kindle e-reader, quote, "with special offers." Basically, what this means is for $20 cheaper, you can get a kindle with ads in it.

I am of the opinion that you can either put adverts in something or you can charge money for it, but never both (unless the money charged is clearly less than the actual value). Whether or not putting up with ads is worth USD $20 is up to you, but I suppose this qualifies as not an abuse of advertising privileges, since the ad-supported one is genuinely cheaper.

That said, referring to ads as "special offers" is a flagrant mutilation of the English language that should be punishable by three months in a prison referred to as an "enlightenment facility." It's a common euphemism that seems to be part of marketer-speak along with referring to companies as "brands," but it drives me several varieties of nuts, including, but not limited to, macadamia, wal, and almond.

Curiously, the cheaper version of the kindle with, *cough*, "special offers," is only available on the American version of Amazon. On amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk, they only have the regular ad-free kindle at $139 and £109 respectively. Apparently, America is the only country that tolerates that sort of shit. However, the British do tolerate higher prices, as their kindle costs the equivalent of CAD $178.

Also curiously, in the splash page for the kindle on American Amazon, the kindle in the picture is displaying a page from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, while in the splash page on Canadian Amazon, the picture shows Above All Things by Tanis Rideout, and in British Amazon, the picture shows The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. My best guess was that they tried to customise each splash page with an author from that country but they had never heard of any American writers.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Can Flickr Stop Being Owned By Yahoo?

I am officially locked out of my flickr account. The reason for this is because, while I remember my Flickr ID, this is not sufficient to log in. This is because Flickr is owned by Yahoo, a wannabe internet service company with delusions of Google, and for reasons that probably make a lot of sense to their executives, Flickr is now "integrated" into Yahoo systems such that I require not a Flickr ID for login, but a Yahoo ID. This is a problem because I haven't the foggiest idea what my Yahoo ID is.

When I signed up for flickr, they demanded I also sign up for Yahoo mail and a bunch of other crap I don't need, so I signed up for a Yahoo address and gave them one of my spamtraps as an alternate. At some point, I deleted the Yahoo account and the alternate gmail address, assuming my Flickr account would die too, but it didn't. The next time I went to Flickr, my account was still active, and I was prompted to sign up for a new Yahoo ID to get back into it.

So I did. But I don't remember what it was. And I can't delete the old account either, because I can't get back into it.

This is why non-retarded people don't insist on "linking" shit or trying to foist unwanted crap upon people. But then, the idea of forcing me to sign up for a Yahoo account before letting me onto Flickr was probably thought up by a marketer, and marketers aren't even human.

Vital stats:

Flickr: Pants
Date: Today
Current Mood: Annoyed
Sleep Status: Yes
Word of the Day: Standard
Photos: Limbo
Yahoo: No
Google: 10100
Googol: Oh, right, see above.
Picasa: Also rubbish.
Photobucket: Copyright thieves.
My Website: Down
Host: Not invoked.
Photos: Wonderful, according to 100% of not-banned commenters.
Commenters: Umm...

...you wanna sign this petition, my bromide?