Does the entertainment industry WANT people to steal movies? It seems like they do.

August 16, 2013 | Filed Under Computers, Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Popculture | 1 Comment

This past week I got a brand new Sony Vaio laptop. It’s next gen i5, with an SSD, 8GB of RAM, and  does full 1080p HD.  It cost a pretty penny, but considering I wait on average 6 years between new computers, I think it’s worth it to wait and then get something that will hopefully last.

I want to be able to rent DOWNLOADABLE digital movies that I can watch at the cottage or on the road (as a passenger) on long trips.

I tried itunes first, since I have an account for my music.  Turns out that iTunes isn’t certified for Windows 8 (even though it’s been out for a YEAR and is now selling as the default O/S on a huge number of PCs and laptops).  Microsoft certifies that anything that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8, so I tried the Windows 7 version of iTunes.  It installed and runs, but any attempt to play a downloaded (rented) HD movie results in juttery/stuttery, out of sync audio.    Turns out that it isn’t exclusively a Windows 8 problem. Even on Windows 7,  and XP, huge numbers of users were/are reporting problems with video playback through itunes and/or Windows Media player.  I tried EVERY conceivable fix posted (including changing power settings and setting audio bit rates to the bare minimum), and NOTHING worked.  The audio stuttered, and was out of sync with the video and it got progressively worse as the movie played.  I ended up requesting a refund through some crappy feedback form.

I’d love to try Amazon movies but unfortunately, they aren’t in Canada yet, so those aren’t available to me.

I’m SERIOUSLY trying to pay for my movies here people.   The industry is NOT making it easy.

Next, I tried Flixster.  I set up an account and a corresponding “Ultraviolet” account (see below), and then found out that even though their tagline says “Buy, Rent, and Watch TV and Movies”, I could find no way to buy or rent the movies I was interested in… the only option it gave me was to “Play trailer”…

I finally found CinemaNow, which has apparently partnered with the industry and Ultraviolet.   Ultraviolet is a cloud service that allows those who purchased an AV-labled DVD to also get access to a digital version of the movie via the ultraviolet service.  CinemaNow has a Canadian store.   They actually rent DOWNLOADABLE movies. Great.  I’ll try that.

First experience: I sign up and it says I get 10 FREE ultraviolet movies as a new subscriber. The selection is rather shitty, but ok, I’ll bite. I pick my 10 free movies after creating my CinemaNow account and linking to my previously created  (on flixster) “ultraviolet account”.  They say that Macs and PCs are compatible devices, and list Future Shop and BestBuy as places to get compatible devices, listing SONY as one of the brands in the ad.

I then proceed to rent a movie to try out the service.  The service say that you can rent SD (Standard Definition) or “Upgrade to view HD on compatible devices. SD playback included with HD purchase.” .  I chose the HD rental for $5.99.

Then I had to download and install the CinemaNow player, so that I could download my rental and play it (due to DRM, now doubt).  I did so and then launched the player and logged in.  It took me to my “library” where it showed my newly purchased rental with a tag indicating it was EXPIRED.  Not only that, but NONE of the UltraViolet movies I had selected showed up in my library.  Great.

This triggered a call to their telephone support.   Props that they even HAVE telephone support.  (Unlike the ITUNES STORE, where I am still awaiting feedback on my “this rental didn’t play at all properly” report, and a refund.)

While I waited for support to answer, I restarted the CinemaNow app, and the movie came up as not expired. But still no Ultraviolet movies (after all that agony of selecting the 10 least sucky ones!).  But then it would only allow me to download the SD version of the movie I had rented.   I figured I’d start that and find out how to get the HD version from the support person – since it said I could watch either once I had paid the HD price.

NOWHERE on the site or in the app, does it tell you how far the download has progressed, or how much longer it will take.  ARGH.

Despite the support queue being relatively short,  I was so dissatisfied with the support guy following the SCRIPT he had in front of him,  and not LISTENING to the problem, that I finally escalated to a manager.  The support person said, “Before I transfer you, I need to find out why you are asking to speak to a manager”.  Dude. Seriously?  I said, “Because I am not at all satisfied with the level of support I am currently receiving.”

The manager came on and finally admitted that their that their app and website only detect HD compatible TVs, game consoles and  blu-ray players, despite the fact that many laptops now have full HD capability, and that they were “having problems” with their software detecting HD-compatible Sony PCs right now.   Never mind I might use this, or any other MEDIA PC, to STREAM a download to an HD-compatible device, like a projector.    Their “protection” does not allow you to download or play the HD version if you are on a PC.  This is just ridiculous.    And it’s NOT AT ALL CLEAR on their website that HD versions are not available to download if you are on a PC – it still lets you buy/rent that version.  WTF?

And then there is the issue with the “free” UltraViolet movies. Admittedly free but still, CinemaNow, WHY do you have a DOWNLOAD button, if Ultraviolet movies are NOT downloadable and can only be watched in STREAMING mode?  (After yet another support request).  BZZZT. #FAIL   Oh, and when I tried to send a support request, I got THIS error:

error-1

When I tried to submit another support request, attaching the above screenshot error, I got THIS error (I know,I’m a glutton for punishment, but HOW HARD is it to get a damn support WEBSITE right? I mean, this is OUT OF THE BOX stuff people.)

error2

#CinemaNow #EPICFAIL

Dear entertainment industry. I REALLY REALLY want to be an honest citizen, but I don’t want to BUY a whole DVD just to watch a movie once.  I just want to rent it like I used to be able to, until all the rental places went out of business.  Besides, my new laptop doesn’t even HAVE a dvd player.  I’m willing to pay reasonable money to rent.  But you aren’t giving me any workable options.  If I could pay the rental price and download from iTunes and play in VLC, I’d happily do it. But Apple can’t see fit to PROPERLY SUPPORT anything not in the Apple Universe, despite being willing to take our money.

And while on the subject of Apple. SERIOUSLY.  I’ve read the support forums. LOADS of people are having problems with video playback in iTunes. People are upgrading their laptops and finding whole LIBRARIES of purchases no longer work.  Windows 8 has been out for a YEAR, and you still can’t get a decent iTunes/player for it?  This is the kind of  HUBRIS that killed RIM/Blackberry.  If you have a player for PCs then fucking SUPPORT IT.   And your technology is NOT the great wonder it once was.  My iphone battery barely lasts a day in most cases, and the touch interface is intermittent/flakey at best.    Maybe it’s time to move to Android. (When my current plan expires).

And there’s my dilemma.  I want to be a good, honest citizen and be able to pay/compensate all the people who put all that work into making movies, but I can see why so many people don’t.   The movie industry is driving people to theft because they don’t give so many of them ANY workable solutions that allow one to rent/buy and play a downloadable copy.

 

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#BadParentShaming

July 5, 2013 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Parenting, Social idiocy | 1 Comment

I know being a parent is hard.

I know you have to sacrifice.

I know there’s lots of things you don’t get to do that you did before your bundle(s) of joy came into your life.

SUCK. IT. UP.

Let me set the record straight for some people who are REALLY unclear on what is appropriate vs inappropriate parenting behaviour.

1).  It is NOT OK for you to bring your INFANT or TODDLER to a movie theatre unless it’s a mom & tot afternoon screening.  I don’t CARE if it’s expensive to get a sitter – if you cannot afford a sitter, you CANNOT AFFORD TO GO TO THE MOVIE.  Cope.  Your wants do not give you the right to a) disturb other patrons when your kid freaks out and ruin THEIR experience that THEY also paid money for, and b) expose your child to loud, scary and inappropriate content.

2) It is NOT ok for you to let your toddler run around a restaurant you are in unless you are in the play room of a Burger King or McDonalds.  The servers are carrying HOT FOOD and heavy, dangerous (if dropped on your kid’s HEAD) dishes.  Show some RESPECT and teach your kids some DISCIPLINE.  It is not MY job, nor is it the restaurant staffs’ job to look after your child.  If your child cannot sit still through a restaurant meal without disturbing other patrons, guess what? He/She IS  TOO YOUNG to take to a restaurant.  Order take-out and eat in, or get a sitter.

3) it is NOT OK  for you to take your INFANT or TODDLER to a rock concert (indoor or outdoor!) – and if you take a child and you don’t ensure it has hearing protection, that just classifies, IMNSHO, as NEGLIGENT.  A typical rock concert is around 115dBs, but can be much louder if you are right near the stage/speakers.  Children are increasingly at risk for hearing loss, and the effects of so many kids listening at too high a volume to mp3 players/ipods  is starting to take its toll.  This will only be compounded by their bozo parents taking them to things like rock concerts when they are babies and not providing any hearing protection.  Repeated (unprotected) exposure to loud sporting events, concerts, etc. will take its toll on anyone’s hearing – and children are even more at risk.  Even brief exposure to very loud noises can cause permanent damage:

“Children’s ear canals are small and particularly susceptible to loud noises, and even brief exposure can induce permanent hearing loss. Sustained exposure to sounds greater than 85 decibels are known to damage the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear.”  – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/is-it-ok-to-bring-my-baby-to-a-loud-concert/article4665564/

And it’s ESPECIALLY NOT OK to take your infant or toddler to a concert AT NIGHT – a) your kid should be in bed ASLEEP, with some kind of reasonable schedule, b) you shouldn’t be exposing your child to all that second-hand weed and tobacco smoke, and c) large drunken crowds can put your child at real risk for getting stepped on/injured.

There were 25,000 people at the festival concert I went to tonight.  I saw parents with INFANTS and no hearing protection, at a location where the base was so loud it was causing my heart to skip beats (in other words, MUCH louder than 115dB)!  And I wanted to smack the “mother” and I use that word loosely, who, AFTER DARK, while puffing on her cigarette, took her toddler out of the stroller (that people kept bumping into and tripping over because she was TOO CLOSE TO THE STAGE with it), and put a leash on him so he could toddle around.  Sober people were dangerous enough trying to make their way through the crowds in the dark. Druken ones even more so.  I breathed a sigh of relief when she picked the kid up.  I was THIS close to saying, “What the FUCK are you thinking? Bringing a toddler HERE, after dark, and then letting him wander around?”

Get a grip parents.  You are NOT entitled to ruin other people’s enjoyment of a movie, concert, dinner and/or put your kid at risk because YOU feel entitled to some fun.  Parenting requires a great deal of sacrifice.  Just like your kids, you won’t always get to do what you want.  Suck it up and act like a grown up.

 

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Too true…

September 5, 2012 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 2 Comments

A frightening, but all too common occurrence in this story.  Thank-you to UnWinona for having the courage to post it.

http://unwinona.tumblr.com/post/30861660109/i-debated-whether-or-not-to-share-this-story

To quote a friend: “Men: Women in public do NOT owe you a conversation”… and to that I would add:  They don’t even owe you a SMILE. They don’t owe you ANYTHING.  And it is NOT your right to demand ANYTHING from a total stranger, just because she is a woman.

I remember as a teenager, coming off the dance floor at a club, SWEATING profusely, and heading to the bathroom when a guy came up and asked me to dance.  I said, “Sure. I just need to go towel off in the bathroom and cool down for a minute or two…” and he replied, “You beautiful girls are all the same, Stuck up Bitches!”  All because I wasn’t IMMEDIATELY available to him and responsive.  CREEPS abound.

And in great juxtaposition, I present this piece, which challenges men to stand up to puerile, bullying, loutish behavior and harassment:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/ernest-w-adams/a-call-to-arms-for-decent-men/10151960903620290

I do love this retort in his article:

It’s hypocrisy. How come they get women-only clubs and we don’t get men-only clubs?” Because they’re set up for different reasons, that’s why. Male-only spaces are about excluding women from power, and making little boys whose balls evidently haven’t dropped feel special. Female-only spaces are about creating a place where they are safe from vermin.

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I’m now a fan of Captain Awkward

August 13, 2012 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Relationships, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | No Comments

Great responses to women asking for advice about “That Creepy Dude” in their social circles…

From the article:

Step 1: A creepy dude does creepy, entitled shit and makes women feel unsafe.

Step 2: The women speak up about it to their partners.

Step 3: It gets written off as “not a big deal” or “he probably didn’t mean it” or “he’s not a bad guy, really.” Any discussion of the bad behavior must immediately be followed by a complete audit of his better qualities or the sad things he’s suffered in the name of “fairness.” Once the camera has moved in and seen him in closeup as a real, human, suffering person, how can you (the object, always an object, as in “objectified,” as in a disembodied set of tits or orifices, or a Trapper Keeper, or a favorite coffee mug or a pet cat) be so cruel as to want to hold him accountable for his actions? Bitches, man.

Read the whole thing HERE

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Fighting back the girlgeek way…

March 29, 2012 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 1 Comment

What she Really said: Fighting Sexist Jokes the Geeky Way – Love it!

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Miss Representation…

January 23, 2012 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Movie Reviews, Popculture, The Heartless Bitch Way | No Comments

Check out the website – join the cause! Miss Representation

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New Definition

May 24, 2011 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Popculture, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | No Comments

VIP – Very Important Penis  – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/news-and-views/judith-timson/what-do-arnie-and-strauss-kahn-have-in-common/article2028743/

Thank-you Judith Timson… :-)

heartlessly,

-Natalie

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Toxic Men (and how to avoid them)

May 24, 2011 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Relationships, The Heartless Bitch Way | No Comments

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/love/dating/do-you-know-how-to-identify-a-toxic-man/article1822855/

Great article – soundslike a good book too.   I can identify with Lillian’s comment, ” There was one ignorant person from Singapore who didn’t even read the book and he just went off on a tirade. He got all crazy. All toxic, I should say. People bring their own issues to it.” — We sure see a lot of those from guys who skim the “nice guys” section and just “go off”…. All I can say is, methinks he doth protest too much….

On the healing front, here’s what the supreme bitch says – indulge the hate/anger/vindictiveness – WITH A PROFESSIONAL THERAPIST – get help and do it in a safe place – DO NOT act out against the asshole  -it’s a losing proposition. Yes, have the feelings, but don’t actually act on them in real life. There is a way to work through it all and come to a healthier place.  Of course, the best course of therapy is to fix the hurt places in YOU so that you aren’t attracted to these kinds of assholes in the first place…

heartlessly,
-Natalie

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Repost: MOMBIES!!!

February 10, 2011 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Politics | No Comments

Brilliant, but sad someone has to satirize this.  WTF is going on in this world? Did we step back a few hundred years?

(click on the image to see the full size original at Feminist Philosophers)

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A woman’s place is in….

November 9, 2010 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Popculture, The Heartless Bitch Way | No Comments

the Hockey Hall of Fame!

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