Category Archives: Ranting

Buy different

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn’t

Biologist Anders Gonçalves da Silva was surprised this week to find three movies he had purchased through iTunes simply disappeared one day from his library. So he contacted Apple to find out what had happened.

And Apple told him it no longer had the license rights for those movies so they had been removed. To which he of course responded: Ah, but I didn’t rent them, I actually bought them through your “buy” option.

At which point da Silva learnt a valuable lesson about the realities of digital purchases and modern licensing rules: While he had bought the movies, what he had actually paid for was the ability to download the movie to his hard drive.

Apple isn’t the first company to fail to clarify to customers what they are paying for, and they won’t be the last.

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with the “lease to download” offering described here. But if you sign up for any sort of digital content, you need to be aware of what you are paying for. This also raises the whole question of DRM and how may times you are able to copy a file — do you really want to have to pay for the same film every time you replace your hard drive?

In short, if you really want to own a film, buy the DVD.

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Calvin the Brexiter

Following on from my previous post, this seems remarkably appropriate.

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Quote of the Day: A truly low point of post-shame politics

There is not a single figure in the government, the Treasury or the economics analysis department of any major bank or investment firm who considers this to be anything less than deranged.

Tom Peck on the latest attempt by the hardline Brexit bunch to justify their complete failure to come up with anything even approaching a coherent Brexit plan.

You’d think that, after 40 years of banging on about Europe, these people would have taken a moment to consider what they were trying to achieve. You’d be wrong.

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On centrism

On the subject of centrist politics, John Harris makes this point:

… but such trifles as the welfare state and the postwar education system were basically the work of centrists. More recently, so were Sure Start, the minimum wage and equal marriage. These things required planning, coalition-building and a willingness to listen to an array of opinions. The kind of shrill belligerence that now defines debate would probably have killed them before anyone even got started.

I can’t imagine ever describing myself as a centrist, it’s a word that’s been bandied around so much as to have become meaningless. That said, it is certainly true that, while the ideological purity of the extremes may be satisfying to some, it’s the people who are willing to make compromises and build a consensus that achieve lasting change.

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Be careful what you wish for

Rafael Behr makes an obvious point:

And it isn’t obvious that the Brexit ultras would want to be in control of the process now. Then they would have to negotiate, to own the compromises and explain the disappointments. They would no longer have the luxury of crying betrayal from the sidelines, which is all they really know how to do.

It’s long been apparent (to me) that, with the referendum, the Brexiters achieved what they campaigned for but not what they wanted.

Blaming the EU for all of your country’s ills is both easy and comforting. But once you’re out, you will have to start taking some responsibility.

This, of course, is the fundamental problem into which all populists eventually crash. Finding a scapegoat is easy, but when the scapegoat is gone and the problems still persist, who or what will you blame next?

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Imperatives and Explanations

While on the subject of workplace toilets, Alistair Dabbs observes:

Also highly revealing about a workplace is the signage displayed in office restrooms. Wherever I go, no matter how posh the surroundings, workers appear to need wall-mounted directives printed in large font sizes on how to use — or rather, how not to misuse — the facilities.

This reminds me of the facilities I encountered at a previous employer. The cubicles on the first floor (which was inhabited mainly by IT folks) all carried a sign instructing you to clean the pan after use.

On the second floor (where the accountants lived), the cubicles carried signs explaining how to clean the pan after use.

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