Other Means

Kindle prohibitions

Digital dark ages in Germaninland? Or as Angie likes to put it (and I’m paraphrasing): To Germans the Internet is Neuland. With that in mind, I’ve been considering getting a tablet for a while now. But a few things have been holding me back. For one, my experience with a third gen Kindle hasn’t been all that great. As a reader it’s almost perfect. As a device that is meant to connect wirelessly to unlimited content, it’s a mess. Also, with the roar of technology I find it a bit overkill to have both a Kindle and a tablet. Indeed. The Post-PC era is upon us and that includes the idear of a tablet replacing not only my Kindle but potentially my ageing MacBook. Or am I off base here? Nomatter. While shopping for a tablet I happened across something that caught my attention and makes me ask: who exactly is Post-PC? Is it a he or a she? And will it/she eventually try to mate with me?

Focus, dear worst-reader, on the screenshot above. Keep in mind that I just got back from traveling and experienced exactly what is explained in the text. Here a short worst-translation from the yellow box:

If you are traveling with your Kindle Fire HDX you will only have access to the content you downloaded in Germany. You can connect to WiFi and also purchase books and apps on Amazon. In order to purchase films and TV shows from LOVEFiLM you must be in Germany.   

So. Let’s have a closer look at these three sentences, shall we?

  • “If you are traveling with your Kindle Fire HDX you will only have access to the content you downloaded in Germany.”

This means that if you’re travelling outside of Germany you better purchase and download the content you want to read before you leave the country. Wow. Doesn’t sound like a mobile device to me. And what if I read all the books I downloaded in Germany and want to buy another one while not in Germany? I think the only logical response from Amazon to that is: shit-outta-luck, bitch!

  • “You can connect to WiFi and also purchase books and apps on Amazon.”

They are saying that you can download books but they are not saying you can buy them while traveling, and they specifically leave out mention of 3G.

  • “In order to purchase films and TV shows from LOVEFiLM you must be in Germany.”

This sentence is the only one that really makes any sense. You must be in Germany to buy film and TV content. Is it me or does anyone else out there in worst-land feel the ropes around our digital necks tightening?

What Amazon is saying here, obviously at the behest of German regulators and overseers of the German state controlled media, is that in order for you to utilise the technology offered by Amazon and its tablet, you must be in Germany to do so. And you must also not expect anything different than the status quo of publishers and content owners using technology to sell you what they’ve always sold you. I can attest to the fact that that is wholly true. While in Morocco the 3G of my Kindle didn’t work at all. And there were two more books I was planning on reading while traveling. Luckily I had my MacBook with me and my hotel room had an ethernet connection. Using my Mac and ethernet I was able to connect to Amazon.de and buy a book. After that I was able to find a place in the hotel that had WiFi where I could then download my purchase to my Kindle. Wow. What a hassle in this technology driven world, eh? And all because German regulators are in control of everything. And to think that German technocrats are all sitting around in their historic offices in their historic buildings thinking about the next bratwurst and pils they’ll stuff in their fat ass faces! Indeed, dear worst-reader. Germany is the most prosperous country in the shithole of Eurowasteland and none of that prosperity has anything whatsoever to do with progress or technology.

But before I really lose my cool. What can we take from all the hassle put out by German regulators? 1) It’s not worth it to pay the extra money for the 3G technology of a German Kindle. 2) Make sure you know exactly what digital content you want before leaving Germany and make sure you download it before you travel. 3) For Germans, as with most other advancements, the Post-PC era ain’t quite here yet. Tough shit, eh! I guess there’s still not enough reason to consider why so many people (excluding yours truly, of course) resort to other means to download their digital content. Indeed. All the wrong people are controlling our digital world. And all those same controlling people want to prevent the future.

Links:

Rant on.

-tgs-

Eat The Actor

State Of Fear by Michael Crichton

Warning: minor plot spoiler.

Attributable to worstwriter’s past, I usually think about three things when it comes to the political and economic freak show of “climate change”. Now don’t get me wrong. When I say freak show it doesn’t mean I’m against the shebang. I actually dig Greenpeace & Co. Heck, I’m all for controlling pollution and regulating industry and energy. But after all these years of bullshit, it’s no wonder that so many people fall into an abyss of cynicism and carelessness regarding what’s good and bad for the environment. And it’s also no wonder that so many have turned something important into something trivial and thereby use it as a wedge to split an already brain-drained and dumb-downed society into factions of t-shirt wearers that have the decal of the arrow pointing right or left and underneath: I’m with stupid. Which brings me to one question about climate change: So what?

Worstwriter’s interest and subsequent cynicism about the environment started early on. One of my first environmental memories is of an Indian, a single tear and a TV commercial. The American Indian was standing on a hill above what looks like Los Angeles. On his face he wears the infamous tear because of what he sees in the valley below. I suppose in America this image is endearing. But the irony of it and the shear confusion it brought to me meant that for most of my adult life I associated a crying Indian not with pollution (i.e. the ads intention) but with a disdain for white Europeans that brought both hell and havoc to North America. And then, of course, there’s the irony of it all. The actor playing the Indian is in reality an Italian-American. Hats off and deep bows to Hollywood, Eurowasteland and advertising execs!

It didn’t stop there though. In a land obsessed with symbolism, false icons, and the power of advertising, there was also Smokey Bear and his tenor motto: Only you can prevent forest fires. Yeah, right. The thing is, I actually had a lot of fun with Smokey on account he never really convinced me that a bear gave a hoot about what humans do in forests—unless they were stupid enough to search him out without bear protection. So I went ahead and played with fire and I can still remember the luscious stink of burning sulphur from every match I ever lit. And so I learned to douse my flames before they could catch on. And from the grand American falsity of false symbols, soon the bear and the Indian were the same. But it didn’t stop there. Ingenuity abounds in American, baby.

I reckon after growing up with TV commercials hounding you about the environment, taking it all with any seriousness was challenge in itself. But then, eventually, I started to potentially… become politically aware. The last and most important symbol of climate change or environmentalism (before I gave it all up) took the form of a well dressed and perfect hair-cut Senator from Tennessee: Al Gore. Is there a better example of political ambition that never quite got it right? This guy was born to be president. From day one his family dressed and curated him to do grand things in the world of American’t politics. And what does Al Gore go and do with what he was meant to be? He literally rides on the back of a political mandate that was ultimately nothing more than dead weight and presented it to an under-educated populace raised on TV, commercials and false icons. That’s right. Bears in funny hats, teary eyed American Indians from Italy and the environment. Talk about mindless ambition. I wonder what’s really inconvenient for Al Gore now?

And so. All these things got recently stirred in my head after reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. It’s not really the type of book I read but since I heard so much about it in all the other stuff I read, I thought I’d give it a go. To say the least, it’s a thriller that kept me glued to the pages. But it’s also corporate writing. That is, it’s the type of novel that I can only guess has gone through tens if not hundreds of renditions after various writers, ghost-writers and editors honed it to read just like a movie. If you like krapp like what Dan Brown writes then you’ll love this book. Yet it did get me thinking–and not only about my confused and TV influenced past. It got me thinking about the wedge that has split society and turned life into a free-for-all of winner-takes-all and the rest can play musical chairs. Know what I mean?

Crichton is without doubt on the side of the climate deniers in State of Fear. And he takes a clear stance against the rest of Hollywood that is all for politicising climate change. In fact, one of Crichton’s characters in the book is an actor/environmentalist that is both rich and free to express his opinions about what he believes to be a big problem for the planet but because his beliefs don’t agree with Crichton’s, especially the Crichton-like hero of the book, he is literally eaten by cannibals. That’s right. According to Crichton and the deniers that he represents in this book, those who prefer to adhere to science that says the earth has a problem because of all the shit humans are doing, should be eaten by cannibals. That’s it. That’s Crichton’s take on the environment–or is it climate change? Nomatter.

As far was worstwriter’s take on this mess? To me the whole discussion and debate about the “environment” is skewed on account it requires mindless consumers of American’t to actually think. It doesn’t matter if people see smoke spewing into the atmosphere when they breath air out of their SUV’s. Ice melting here or there doesn’t matter either as long as everyone can cool their beer cans and the tobacco they spit is absorbed by the ground. This whole debate should have never been politicised. Responsible leaders, in both politics and in business, should know that their egos are not the only thing at stake here. Business leaders should know that there is such a thing as externalities that they hide from balance sheets and hence they hide form us being informed about what’s really going on. Politicians should know that the dumb-downed are incapable of making rational (political) decisions and they stop feeding us propaganda. And the list of all that’s wrong–of all that’s worst goes on and on and on and on….

But I digress.

At the least, read State of Fear. And get your cannibal on.

Rant on.

Tommi