In Case You Missed It, Netflix DID Betray The Trust Of Net Neutrality Supporters

Recently Netflix drew the ire of the incumbent cable and broadband industry by admitting that the deteriorated service experienced by customers of certain ISPs actually came from their end, with the noble goal of helping folks not blow through data caps.  Like many supporters of Net Neutrality, I was taken aback by Netflix going to bat for consumers in the war against nickel-and-diming ISPs here in America, yet stomping on consumer choice via this little scheme of theirs.  I was thinking of ending my long-running Netflix subscription after several years, but for now I’ll check out Fuller House while mulling the possibility of dumping this service for good.

Despite The Consumerist running damage control on Netflix’s behalf, there is some betrayal that has taken place here with supporters of Net Neutrality.  Despite Netflix being an optional service versus a mandatory ISP, the whole point of Net Neutrality was that consumers should have their experiences online affected only by network conditions such as congestion, or issues that would have happened anyways.  Essentially despite many opponents of “net neutrality” supposedly supporting free markets, Net Neutrality essentially sets an electronics free market for web traffic as the standard for how things are run online.

Even if done for pro-consumer reasons, Netflix’s actions betray that very idea that we choose how we want to experience online content, with network limits caused by our activity being the only potential issue.  The entire Net Neutrality debate began because of the possibility of service providers screwing with our experiences behind our back, arbitrarily, and perhaps offering us the option of paying an “extra little fee” for them to start doing their job again.

The past 5 years, however, have shown that Netflix is not to be trusted.  The first and principal betrayal of consumer trust happened in 2011 when CEO Reed Hastings decided to split Netflix from being an all-in-one service into separate subscriptions for discs versus streaming.  Big surprise – the disc business has tanked since then and the streaming catalog has dwindled too.  Time and again you’ll feel like watching something on Netflix, go looking for it, and find out that you can subscribe to DVDs to actually see it, or pay a little more for Blu Ray.  Whether you think paying at least the equivalent of a World Of Warcraft subscription for a service that once was less than $10/month is worth it is up to you, but should be plainly obvious here that it probably isn’t, especially as their catalog continues to shrink.  😛

Netflix continues to not take hints from sites like YouTube, with even basic things like the ability to change quality while watching on the fly still not being part of the Netflix UI even though I called this out among other things back in 2012!!!  So they’re worried about bandwidth caps, yet you still have to back out of what you’re watching and go to your account settings pages just to change quality settings instead of just seeing what it looks like as you watch?!!

Netflix is a dog with fleas.  It was revolutionary at one point.  These days, however, Netflix is just waiting to essentially turn into an online equivalent of a TV channel with their recent hyper-obsession with original programming.  Despite their brand recognition, I see no future for the service as anything distinct from what it once sought to compete with.

This makes me wonder just when Google is going to get serious with YouTube Red.  Forget screwy ideas like scaring PewDiePie.  YouTube has the brand recognition, infrastructure, and most importantly – UI.  It could kill Netflix movie streaming if it offered a subscription option of its existing a la carte movie rentals option.  Seriously, what are they waiting for?  Amazon Prime is already making Netflix look a little dated these days.  Imagine YouTube having something resembling Netflix streaming for X dollars per month in lieu of the a la carte rentals they already have available on the site.

Netflix continues to exist on borrowed time.  I loathe but sadly look forward to the day when we’ll hear about a “Netflix channel” in a cable package, because I know it’s coming.  Let this current deterioration of service and emphasis on original content continue, and I’m sure within 5 years tops the “Netflix” of the 2020s will bear little if any resemblance to what we’ve known them for in this past decade.

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Dear Internet Contrarians, It IS Gamers’ Fault If They Keep Playing Into Gaming Industry Shenanigans!!!

There are people on the Internet who like disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing.  The results vary from people getting mad to stuff that’s far worse, but it really gets annoying for someone like me when people start disagreeing on purpose just to draw traffic to their website or social media pages regarding the nonsense that’s been going on for years in the gaming industry.

My Latest “PasticheTechUSA” Discussion On The Matter:

The Kotaku Article That Inspired It:

http://kotaku.com/i-like-to-buy-games-on-day-one-this-post-originally-ap-1719690013

The Contrarian Nonsense I Was Responding To:

The Red Dragon’s Original Video:

IcyRhythms/FailedToListen’s Response:

ReviewTechUSA Being A Little Late To The Party:

The Far Superior Discussion From 2013:

TotalBiscuit On Preorders:

Out Of Continues Episode 18 – My Earlier Discussion On “Beta On Release” From 2012:

http://www.outofcontinues.com/?p=332

Ars Technica Article On Buying New Games From 2011:

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/11/when-to-wait-why-buying-games-at-launch-is-a-fools-errand/

Consumerist WCIA 2014 – Let The Fun Begin!!! :-)

Consumerist.com’s satirical parody of March Madness is officially underway.  This year I’m looking at being a lot more “omnichannel” with how I comment on the whole Worst Company In America thing, and have kicked off my WCIA commentary in my audio commentary series on YouTube.  🙂

Sadly though, my favorite for winning this contest this year – Verizon – probably won’t take home the Golden Poo, but a man can dream, right?  🙂

Tide Pods – a.k.a. The Latest Example Of How NOT To Design A Product

For those who haven’t been living in some cave somewhere (Warning – I may be getting just a tad snarky with this reference to people living in caves) apparently Tide Pods are all the rage, and/or something that’s throwing concerned motherly types into quite a rage, and for good reason too.  These little doodads allow someone to just drop one in and do a load of laundry.  If they were plain-looking things like some kind of laundry version of a toilet tablet or something it’d be one thing, but the geniuses at Procter & Gamble decided to make the darn things look like brightly-colored candies instead.  Oops.

Now add to this ease of confusing children the potentially deadly fact that these things contain super-concentrated detergents and are designed to dissolve when exposed to liquids.  What do kids have in their mouth?  Liquids.  :-\  Really, this whole thing was an absolute disaster by design.  P&G changed the packaging on these things in response to incident after incident after incident of children being poisoned by these things (here’s the latest from a Google search I did before typing this up) and has typed up a little blurb about proper handling and storage of these things, but the root of the problem is the design.  These things should NOT be so bright and colorful, or have anything resembling the design that they currently have.  The smell of these things could be improved as well.  I was looking at a bag of similar detergent pod type things and the sweet smell coming from these things smelled almost exactly like some kind of candy.  It didn’t even smell soapy or like detergent – just sweet!

These things are so horrendously-designed one could swear it was malicious, or just plain naive from someone who knows absolutely zilch about raising children.  There’s even a Change.org petition regarding this, but I think the most that P&G should do here is stop making these things look so flashy and maybe make them smell a little more like detergent from a distance.  Needless to say, The Consumerist has been having a ball with this mess.  😛

CPSC Issues Safety Alert On Detergent Pods

Grandmother Of Poisoned Boy Asks Procter & Gamble To Stop Making Tide Pods Look Like Delicious Candy

…and as for me, I’ll stick with my powder detergent, which just happens to be Tide right now, but at least that stuff smells more like a soap type cleaning product.  😛  It’s just appalling to me that issues like this are happening in the year 2013.  Kids and issues related to keeping things out of kids’ mouths that shouldn’t be there aren’t exactly a new issue last I checked…  :-\

Wendy’s – Maybe We Should All Just Give Up On Fast Food For A Bit

As if the Taco Bell shell-licker wasn’t enough, now there’s a photo going around of some guy at a Wendy’s sticking his mouth under an ice cream machine.  Not only is this gross, but technically it’s stealing as well.  I’m sure this guy probably won’t have a job for much longer if he’s not already gone by now.

http://consumerist.com/2013/06/12/this-photo-might-make-you-reconsider-heading-out-for-a-nice-cold-wendys-frosty/

The thing is though, with how dysfunctional the job market is right now, why would anyone want to do something like this and obviously set themselves up to be “that guy” at future job interviews?  As for me, I think I’ll keep my distance from fast food for a bit.  It’s not all that healthy anyways.  😛

Regarding Taco Bell’s Response To The “Taco Licker” And Fast Food In General

A picture going around the internet of some guy at Taco Bell licking a stack of taco shells has created an uproar of course among disgusted customers and prompted a big PR response from the restaurant chain.  😛

http://consumerist.com/2013/06/04/taco-bell-in-process-of-firing-taco-licker-crosses-heart-and-swears-shells-were-thrown-out/

http://www.tacobell.com/Company/newsreleases/Statement_Regarding_Prank_Photo

I think this response was a little slow and tame though compared to a similar story that happened back in the 2000s at Domino’s Pizza where some idiots recorded a prank video for YouTube of someone doing gross things with some food they were preparing, even though it wasn’t being served to customers.  The response from Domino’s was nothing short of explosive.

Quite frankly, Taco Bell should’ve been this fierce too, and those of us who remember the Domino’s incident will no doubt be disturbed by the notably tamer response from them.  This gets me thinking though about the state of our fast food industry in general.  Both of these incidents involved young folks working in the restaurants, and the industry is pretty much synonymous with low-wage part time bluh ways to get work experience for young people – all of this of course because of our desire for cheap food.  People are horrified when events like this take place, but maybe one of these years people will consider the idea that our culture’s obsession with really cheap tacos or burgers could have some unintended consequences.  As for me, I’ll stick with Subway.  😛

It’s definitely something to think about though.  People scream in horror at some of these low wage jobs, but sometimes it’s worth taking a look at what specifically causes them.

From Sissy To Suckup – “Change We Can Believe In” At The FCC =(

President Obama has made me ashamed to live in this country, as opposed to a more tech-friendly country like South Korea.  Julius Genachowski was an embarrassment to the whole idea of government regulatory agencies during his tenure at the FCC, constantly sucking up to our crooked telecommunications giants and overseeing ridiculous assaults on Net Neutrality as well as the NBC Comcast merger that got me to refer to former commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker as Meredith Turncoat Baker after she helped hammer through the merger then took a cushy lobbying job at Comcast.  Well apparently the revolving door swings both ways.  A former industry lobbyist is now Obama’s main man to head up the embarrassing tech-unfriendly joke known as the FCC.

http://stopthecap.com/2013/04/30/change-we-can-believe-in-cablewireless-industry-lobbyist-will-now-head-fcc/

http://stopthecap.com/2013/04/22/future-fcc-chairman-tom-wheelers-fruit-doesnt-fall-far-from-big-telecoms-tree/

This is why perhaps term limits for presidents isn’t such a good idea and should be repealed.  The whole lame duck thing basically gives two-term presidents the leeway to do whatever since they’re on their way out no matter what.  Actually now that I think of it, every single lame duck president in my lifetime has done something that landed some serious egg on their face.  Ronald Reagan had the Iran Contra scandal, Bill Clinton had the sex scandals that got the US presidency made fun of all over the place (plus the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed under his watch in Term 2), and now we have this.  At a time when rich politicians routinely thumb their nose at the American people and dismiss us as mere simpletons who “can’t get past our cynicism” they continue giving people more things to be cynical about!!!

Seriously, we’re lucky some of the high-profile violent crimes right now can be tied to mental illness or terrorism from overseas.  Wait until people start snapping en masse and we have something like Greece or London in some of our major cities.  We’ve been out of the recession for years, the economy has been improving for years, plus Corporate Profits After Tax came roaring back not long after the financial crisis (continuing its meteoric ascent in Q1-2013), yet the job market is still a complete disaster.  Millions suffer needlessly in this country while the people floating on top run away with what’s left of this country.  But it’s the peons of America that need to “get over their cynicism.”

I’m ashamed to be an American.  Meanwhile while we can’t properly wire up this country or provide decent broadband to our people the Republic Of Korea is the most wired country in the world (plus you can technically say that their citizens are “ROKers”  🙂 ), and Samsung, one of my favorite companies out there, does more sales than many of its Japanese competitors….. combined.  Watching stuff from organizations like Arirang News, basically their CNN over there, minus the speculation-as-news nonsense like what CNN has recently been embarrassed with, you can see footage on their YouTube channel of things like people surfing the web on their smartphones in subways underground.  😛  Meanwhile, AT&T gets lampooned for their horrendous cell service in our major cities.  :-\

This lobbyist-as-FCC-chief nonsense isn’t going to improve things any.  Makes me wonder if the land of the free and home of the brave has just given up on life with how the people in Washington keep selling us out, along with our science, technology, innovation, jobs, future, etc.  =(