Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Zune is better than iPod

If you don’t believe me, view the chart here.

I had a Zune 30, a Zune 80, and my Zune 120 is coming in the mail.  Here are my top 5 reasons that the Zune is better.

Face it.  Zune rocks.

Face it. Zune rocks.

Zune 120 VS iPod Classic

  1. FM Radio Tuner:  The Zune makes listening to the radio possible (which means I can watch and hear TV at the gym – sorry iPod users).  Beyond that, I can purchase/download songs from the radio directly to my cart/Zune.
  2. Wireless:  The WiFi built into the Zune allows for multi player games (I can play checkers/etc with another nearby Zune user; games come pre-loaded and you can download software to make your own games).  Wireless also offers streaming audio to the device (I can listen to whatever song I want whenever I want as long as I am in a WiFi zone and have a Zune pass), and wireless file share/sync to computer (I can send picture albums, podcasts, and songs/albums to a nearby Zune – I can aslo sync wirelessly with my computer).
  3. Build – Screen Size and Squircle: The screen is larger for the Zune making all the difference.  In addition the navigation is easy and logical.  Up means up, down means down, etc – fancy that iPod users.
  4. Zune Pass/Software: For $15 a month, you can  have unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music on demand, and you can keep ten songs a month forever.  This works on three computers so I’m splitting it with two other people.  That means I get unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music, and can keep 3 songs per month for about $60 a year.  Incredible.  Not only that, but the software is easy to use, and has incredible music discovery elements, and is very slick looking.
  5. Microsoft makes mistakes, but Macintosh makes intentional, mean decisions and rude (in some cases outright dishonest) commercials.

Zune 120 VS 32 GB iPod Touch

  1. Zune is $250 (about half of the 32 GB touch)
  2. Zune has 120 GB (more than 3 times the size of the 32 GB touch)
  3. FM Radio Tuner:  The Zune makes listening to the radio possible (which means I can watch and hear TV at the gym – sorry iPod users).  Beyond that, I can purchase/download songs from the radio directly to my cart/Zune.
  4. Zune Pass/Software: For $15 a month, you can  have unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music on demand, and you can keep ten songs a month forever.  This works on three computers so I’m splitting it with two other people.  That means I get unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music, and can keep 3 songs per month for about $60 a year.  Incredible.  Not only that, but the software is easy to use, and has incredible music discovery elements, and is very slick looking.
  5. Microsoft makes mistakes, but Macintosh makes intentional, mean decisions and rude (in some cases outright dishonest) commercials.

To me the choice is clear – the Zune blows the iPod out of the water.  Where am I going wrong here?

-DM

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Where is all of our money?

It is true – the rich are getting rich and the poor are falling into greater poverty. This, however, is no fault of the government. Guess who is to blame.

Us.

That’s right, you and me. After all, who goes to see expensive concerts? Who continues to pay overpriced movie tickets? Who pays an arm and a leg for season tickets to athletic events? It’s not the government, it’s the consumers.

There is also a terrible misconception in this country that it’s always the government’s responsibility to fix our problems. I challenge that thinking – keep in mind the government is responsible for most of our problems. This topic however will be reserved for a future rant.

In a small survey I did with some close friends, here’s how our money usage is spent.

  • A little less than a third spent in taxes
  • A little more than a third spent in bills including shelter
  • A little less than a third spent in “entertainment” and food.

Ok, so let’s take a closer look at the “entertainment” section. For most Americans that means
movies, compact disks of some kind (DVD/CD), concerts, comedians, restaurants, etc.

If I go and see a mainstream artist in concert (depending on my income and the quality of the seat I paid for) I just gave this already ridiculously rich person MORE of my hard earned cash. In my specific example, a good seat at a mainstream concert probably cost me %10-%15 of my disposable income (the money left over after bills/taxes/etc). Sure, I might like the artist, but do I REALLY need to give them that much of my money?

The answer is no. Anyone who complains that we don’t tax the rich enough but goes supports these rich people with their personal funds are hypocrites. How ridiculous is it to say “Ok, I’ll give you my hard earned money” and then come tax season say “Hey, give that back to us!”

Music is a classic example – see my previous blog by clicking here.  I talk about MIDI files and how mainstream musicians do not deserve our love or money.  Music is an industry where one attractive person has a good to wonderful singing voice… that’s it.  They have entire staffs of people to write their lyrics, write their songs, and technology to make these processes flawless.  The technology utilized in concerts is dishonest and contrived.  The end result is this: Consumers think they are supporting an artist.  The fact is that every dollar spent in that artist’s name is a waste.  The artist (who is already rich) didn’t do nearly the amount of work that you did for that money.  Remember how hard you worked for that $75 concert ticket?  Say the concert had 3,000 attendees.  That artist just raised $225000 and did little to no work whatsoever.  Come on folks – our money is worth more than that.  I’d rather not have to remind people about impoverished people in our country and other parts of the world; I’ll save that for another post.

The bottom line here is this:  If you feel like athletes are overpaid and more money should be spent on cancer research, then don’t go to sporting events and donate more money for cancer research.  If you think the money in the pockets of the Hollywood types would be better spent in the pockets of those in poverty, don’t go to Hollywood films.

I understand as well as anyone else the value of entertainment.  We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking we can only get entertainment from big companies.  THAT IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS.  You like sports?  How about PLAYING them with your family or friends?  You like movies?  Hit up the independent movie theater or local film festival.  Remember Memento? Pans Labyrinth? These were at one point film festival movies that were so successful they were mass produced.  Independent films are great – do not believe the stereotype fed to you by the big studios leading you to believe that anything that does not come from them is crap.  Remember Speed Racer?  Pearl Harbor?  Superman Returns?  Valentine?  These were studio pictures and they were TERRIBLE!  How about music – do you really need to go to a concert and hear music (that is probably pre-recorded) when you already have the Mp3 files and/or the radio?  How about the local coffee shop that features talented folks in your community – don’t they need your support more than the mega-artists?  The answer is obviously YES!  Again, it is propaganda that only the big guns are talented.  At least the local kid who is getting NO CORPORATE HELP probably wrote his or her own songs for goodness sake.  We should definitely be supporting them and I’m telling you the music is just as good.  I’ve been to local coffee shops and small venues and I know it can be just as good.

In conclusion, think about this.  If you think the rich in America are too rich, you’ve got to stop supporting them.  WE are the reason they are getting richer and richer.  No matter poor we get – even if we can barley support ourselves, we STILL give these ultra rich people MORE of our money.  We’ve got to wake up.

The only thing more terrifying than being exposed to 5,000 ads a day (which we are) is realizing that IT IS WORKING.

Just think about it.

Film Studies – Career of the Future?

As the entire world moves more and more toward moving images, is a career in film studies the way of the future?  The internet is taking over for newspapers and magazines, and advertisements on hand held/mobile devices are certainty right around the corner.  The visual language seems to be the voice of the future – what say you?

http://www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/Majors/filmstudies.htm

-David May

Everything I need to know I learned from America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Let’s face it… America’s Funniest Home Videos it the best show on TV. Everyone seems to be going to youtube for their short clips of funny things happening when they could just watch AFV. Naturally, the hosts are not that great but the new guy… Tom… he’s pretty good. Besides, if you have DVR you can fast forward through the host anyway.

AFV is not just good for entertainment – it’s practically virtual life experience. As they say, anyone can learn from their own mistakes, but truly wise people learn from the mistakes of others. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

TEN AFV LESSONS:

  1. If a squirrel gets into your house and you try to catch it (or chase it out) your house will end up in shambles. It seems that the best thing to do is learn how to co-exist with the squirrel. This is particularly difficult to explain to your pets.
  2. If you have a baby, and you are laying on your back, don’t hold the baby above your face. It will definitely puke in your mouth.
  3. Geese know exactly where your nuts are, and they will attack you there upon purpose.
  4. If you are going to have children, keep paint and chocolate far out of reach.
  5. Cats are the weirdest of God’s creations. Yes, I know about the duck billed platypus. I stand by it; cats are completely insane. If they are not chasing bags that are attached to their feet, squeezing under doors, or darting at full speed into walls, they are making strange noises that sound like a human drowning or performing seemingly impossible acrobatic tricks. If that is not enough to convince you, ponder this: I have seen a cat chase a bear away (on AFV). Think about it. They’re probably aliens.
  6. Kangaroos are not cute, and the danger they can cause to people is almost always severely under estimated.
  7. Elephants are not afraid of mice in real life… women truly are.
  8. If you film your wife drooling and then wake her up, she will probably divorce you. If your wife is filming you drool and you wake up and are anything but happy about it, she will probably divorce you.
  9. When you buy a new car MAKE SURE you know how to park it so that it won’t roll down your driveway and into a lake, someone’s house, or oncoming traffic. It’s called an emergency break people… just like your old car.
  10. Dogs are worth every penny. They will probably break something at some point but they’re worth it because they’re just so happy all the time!

TEN THINGS NEVER TO BUY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:

  1. Pinatas – one way or another, you will get hit in the crotch or face. The same warning applies with T-Ball sets for your children.
  2. Trampolines – Make a list of “ways to have fun on the trampoline” then make a list of “ways to get hurt on a trampoline.” If the “ways to get hurt” list is longer than the “ways to have fun” list (it will be), don’t buy the trampoline. In fact, trampolines aside, this is a pretty good test for almost anything.
  3. Tickets to a drive-through safari – It’s just not worth it – monkeys will probably rip your windshield wipers off. If you MUST do go to one of these safaris, please don’t roll your windows down. If you MUST roll your windows down, please don’t encourage giraffes or elephants or any other animals to eat right off of your hands. They are wild animals folks – I have never seen more drool – not even in the movies.
  4. ATVs or Snowmobiles – Enough said.
  5. Those big Styrofoam airplanes – actually, you can buy those if you want but DEFINITELY film the results, post the video on-line somewhere, and let me know where to find it. I can always watch more people getting smacked with those things.
  6. Those little airplanes with a string attached that fly around the operator in circles – those videos are almost not funny – I think I almost watched someone die of strangulation on National TV.
  7. Gymnastics lessons – and give Karate some very careful thought. Don’t just sign up on a whim.
  8. Macintosh Products – this has nothing to do with AFV but… don’t believe their marketing lies, people. They did not invent the smart phone. Macs crash too! Honest – I had one!
  9. Baby Alligators – just trust me on this one.
  10. Above Ground Swimming Pools – It will break. There will be a mini-flash flood that (depending on where the water goes) could cause substantial damage to your home and/or loved ones. If you have a dog, this warning is ten fold.

TEN THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS TO PEOPLE, BUT APPARENTLY ARE NOT.

  1. Don’t snowboard off of your roof. Just because it’s covered with snow does not make it safe.
  2. If you’re going to cut a tree down, make sure you are not tied to the part that is going to fall.
  3. If you weigh 300 pounds and you are going to try to swing into a lake – that’s fine – just make sure that both the rope, and the tree branch that the rope is attached to can support you. I’m not trying to offend anyone, I’m just looking out for you. You could end upside down in the mud, or worse.
  4. Bears will kill you. I’m not kidding.
  5. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES – I MEAN NO CIRCUMSTANCES try to bench twice your body weight WITH NO SPOTTER. I can’t stress that enough people.
  6. Don’t film your family or loved ones in the shower. How would you feel? I mean, come on.
  7. Don’t go para-sailing in Mexico – particularly if you are over the weight limit. Again, I’m not picking on anyone. It just looks really painful. Actually, it’s probably a good idea to just stay away from para-sailing all together, regardless of your weight or where you do it.
  8. Keep silly string away from birthday candles… or any open flame for that matter.
  9. Please do not get in a tractor tire and roll yourself down a hill. Parents, if you encourage your children to do this, you are bad parents. I don’t want to hear excuses. In fact, any parent who decides it’s a better idea to keep filming their children doing wild and dangerous things needs to get their priorities straight. PUT THE CAMERA DOWN AND STOP THE WILD AND DANGEROUS THINGS FROM HAPPENING. YOUR CHILD COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER!
  10. On a camcorder, look through the EYEPIECE, not the lens. Otherwise we just get lots of footage of your eye.

ULTIMATE RECIPE FOR DISASTER
If you want a solid AFV experience, just do the following and make sure to have a video camera ready:

Your wedding reception must be outside. Definitely have alcohol, and an expensive cake. At some point in the evening, make sure to break a pinata (blindfolded). For some extra excitement, do this on a trampoline. Tell everyone to bring all of their children, as well as their dogs and cats. When opening the champagne, NEVER point it away from anyone. Lock your knees at all times no matter what. Invite LOTS AND LOTS of old people and tell them they can’t wear belts, then play catch with them. If you don’t know lots of old people it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invite a local retirement village just for fun. I’m sure they’d appreciate it anyway.

The real lesson here is to watch AFV not only for entertianment, but also for good life lessons. I’m telling you, it’s changed my life and I think it would change yours as well.

-David May

p.s. This post is dedicated to two of my old roommates.  One of our rituals was watching AFV together.  I miss that, and I miss them.  Here’s to you A.T. and Kev.

Daylight Savings – Stop the Madness

Daylight Savings is stupid.  It’s allegedly around because a guy by the name of William Willett wanted to ride his horse in the morning and play golf at night (read details here).  Here’s an idea, William Willett, wake up with the sun regardless of what time it is and ride your horse.  Fine.  If you want to play golf around sunset, start your game accordingly.

Below are some words of support for Daylight Savings, and my responses to each.  Now let’s take these one by one.

1)    Adding daylight to afternoons generally benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours.

D1)   Don’t retailers want to make money year round?  Why choose half of the year to keep the sun out longer?  Don’t athletes want to be active all year, or do they just have enough energy for half of the year?

2)    It can cause problems for farmers and others whose hours depend on the sun.

D2)   What?  Farmers should just wake up whenever they have to – who cares what time it is.  Some people have to be at work at 10:00am, some at 7:00am, etc.  None of us change other people’s universe to appease when we need to be at work, farmers should be no different.

3)    Extra afternoon daylight appears to cut traffic fatalities. 

3D)   Let me get this straight, we only want to protect people from fatalities half the year?  What… is winter our “survival of the fittest” season?

4)    An early goal was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity.

4D)   Again, why do we want to save electricity only half the year?

Here’s what I suggest we do. Survey America and find out when most people get up for work. Say we discover that most Americans get up at 6:30am.  Let’s set sunrise at approximately 6:30 so as to not waste daylight.  Let’s do this year round!  Where am I going wrong here?

-dm