Companies I Love to Hate!

We all have those companies that we love to hate. Some because I think they rip me off some just becuase. Anyways here are my favourite companies that I love to hate.

Cell Carriers – Pretty much all of them. Of course I have a particular hatred of Rogers and Sasktel, but they all pretty much suck.

Apple – All the Apple fanboys will probably jump on me for this one, but I hate Apple. Mostly because people think their products are so great when in reality they are nothing special, except being over priced. As a side note I also hate them because Steve Jobs needs a new wardrobe. The black turtle neck and jeans is getting old. This from a guy that does not have a great wardrobe. Not to mention I am sick of Apple being constantly talked about on Techcrunch.

Microsoft – Come on it is Microsoft.

Hulu – This hatred is probably more a general hate of old media in general, but Hulu gets mentioned because they are such a good representation of old media trying to control and maintain the same old same old. Tip: If you want to try and watch Hulu from outside of the good old USA try the Hide My Ass! Pro VPN Service.

Banks – I hate dealing with my bank. It seems like everytime I talk with them they are telling me about some new service charge for this or that. Less service and more service charges are their motto. If I could I would stuff my money in my mattress!

PayPal – This is similar to my hatred of banks, but PayPal gets a special mention because they keep saying they are not a bank. They are right, banks cannot sieze all of your money for no reason and not give it back.

Google – I have a love / hate relationship with Google. I love Gmail, Reader, Docs and my Android devices. Adsense and Adwords not so much. They are an impossible company to contact and they really do have some double standards. At least they do not all wear the same stupid black turtle neck and jeans.

Facebook – I do not even spend much time on Facebook compared to some people. If it was not useful for marketing my websites I would delete my acount.

That is all I can think of so far. I am sure I have missed a few but there has to be some that are not to bad right.

What are the companies you love to hate?

Netflix Comes to Canada

I have known for a little while that the Netflix movie service was going to open up shop in Canada. In the US Netflix is similar to Zip.ca here in Canada, you can choose movies and they will mail them to you. Actually it is really the the other way around, Zip.ca is similar to Netflix since Netflix started in the US before Zip.ca opened up here. The big difference between Netflix and Zip.ca is that Netflix offers streaming movies. Streaming movies straight to my living room is the service I was hoping for when I signed up for Zip.ca. Zip.ca announced a streaming service almost a year ago, but it has still not materialized. The day that Netflix finally opened their doors here in Canada and announce streaming movies is the day I signed up and cancelled my Zip.ca account. Zip.ca is a decent service for DVD’s by mail, but I see no reason anymore why I need plastic discs to watch a movie. Here are my impressions of the new Netflix in Canada streaming service so far.

The Good
Streaming! – Finally a streaming movie service in Canada. It is ridiculous that there are still services and DVD rental places moving plastic disks around. This is the way movies and TV on demand should be delivered! If the movie studios want to reduce piracy they need to make it easier to watch their content. Netflix provides an easy to use, instant streaming service. Before Netflix in Canada the next closest way to do this was to torrent the same content.

Wii, PS3 Support, Netflix Enabled Devices – There are lots of Netflix enabled devices available and most probably support Netflix Canada. We have a Wii and just got the disc the other day to use Netflix on the device. It is easy to use. While those that love their high quality 1080p HDTV might laugh at the quality the Wii puts out, it is decent enough to watch.

Windows and Mac support – Instant streaming to a Windows or Mac computer is simple. For those people that already have a media computer hooked up to their TV this will be the best way to watch Netflix.

The Bad
Microsoft Silverlight! I am sure Netflix has a good reason for this, and it probably has everything to do with DRM. Honestly though, Microsoft Silverlight SUCKS! My one Windows computer that is in our kitchen for everyone to use just chokes and dies when I try to play Netflix on it. The machine is not that old, and does most things fine, but Silverlight causes it to crash and become unresponsive 98% of the time.

Windows and Mac Instant Streaming Only – Linux does not get instant streaming and probably has everything to do with DRM. This is an inconvenience but it will stop me from watching TV and movies at my desk.

No Android app – This is not surprising since Linux is not supported. Would be nice to have with the Samsung Galaxy Tab coming soon, and me thinking of getting one. 🙂

Selection – Their movie and TV selection is not full of all the latest and greatest. If you need to see the latest DVD release the day it comes out, then Netflix is probably not for you. But then again none of the DVD by mail services are really for you.

Affiliate Program – I have heard good things about the Netflix affiliate program, even though it is part of the Google Affiliate network. I wanted to join, but was turned down. I guess I do not get enough traffic. Just wanted to mention it since it just kind of ticked me off that they turned me down.

The Ugly
DRM – This is probably why there is no Linux support. Also the reason I cannot use my WD TV HD Live to stream Netflix. There is a WD TV HD Live Plus that does support Netflix, but from what I have heard so far Netflix Canada is still not actually supported. I will put up with this kind of DRM more than if I was buying a disc simply because the service offers unlimited streaming.

Overall
Netflix will not be for everyone, but it is a great service for those that want quick and easy access to TV and movies. Anyone that has ever gone to the video store with kids should get this service. No more screaming and arguing about what to rent, or maybe that is just me and my kids. The Netflix instant streaming is perfect for me and our family. While we stopped going to the video store when I signed up with Zip.ca, now with Netflix I no longer need to find movies to have queued to mail to us. I just browse and click. As their selection improves this will be the only way to rent movies soon.

If the movie studios are smart (and I doubt that some are) they need to realize that their DVD sales will never go back up to where they were and they need to get on Netflix instant streaming. The cost of Netflix is low and the fact that you can watch it instantly is better than downloading a movie (not that I have ever done that). If there is a movie or TV show that I really must have I will still go and buy a plastic disc of it, but I would much prefer a digital copy that I can just play.

The price of $7.99 in Canada for instant, unlimited streaming is nothing and it is faster and cheaper than the local video store. Not to mention you never have to worry about returning a movie or going out in -30 Celsius. If you add it all up it is probably the greenest way to watch a movie, but that is a whole other post. Enough writing, I am off to go watch another movie on my Wii.

Bill C32 or the Reason I Hate Politics

If you have been following me on Twitter I want to apologize for all of the tweets about Bill C32. I don’t usually spend a lot of time following politics, mainly because I find it boring, but then the government goes and does something so tremendously stupid that I get a little frustrated and angry. I am not a lawyer so I won’t go into some long an drawn out explanation about Bill C32. For a very good plain english understanding of the Bill read Michael Geist blog. He does a great job of explaining the Bill the good and bad points. Of course if you read the official government information on the bill it is all roses. To be blunt that is nothing but total BULLSHIT! And that is why I HATE politics, they can’t even smell the shit they are shoveling.

To get on to why I hate Bill C32 is because of the whole digital lock problem. The bill does allow some more rights to people like allowing you to format shift music from CD’s to your MP3 player. It does not allow people to format shift video from DVD. Now the politicians will say it does as long as there is no digital lock. Since 98% of DVD produced these days have digital locks that does not leave many DVD’s that you can format shift to your iPod, Android phone, laptop, netbook etc.\

There is also another problem. I use Linux as my main operating system. I have a Windows computer that still runs Windows XP that we use as a family computer, but Linux is what I use most. Some of the things I use Linux for include playing DVD’s, backing up our DVD’s and you guessed it, format shifting content from my DVD’s to the computer to play using my Western Digital HD Live. All of those things will soon make me a criminal. The main reason is because Linux has to use something called DeCSS to decode a DVD because the DVD CCA will not provide a license for free software players.

Any rights that Bill C32 gives people are gone as soon as you break a digital lock. By playing a DVD on my Linux computer I am a criminal. By backing up one of the DVD’s I bought, I am a criminal for one breaking the lock on my Linux computer and then by copying it to my computer in a different format. Then to format shift that same content onto my Android phone, or play on my laptop I am a criminal. I never set out to be a criminal, and I am sure that the majority of people under 35 (I would say 40 but I like to think I am special 🙂 ) will probably be with me. Even if they don’t use Linux if people want to format shift video they will need to break a digital lock on their DVD’s to copy and move the data.

Looking at what the US is like after Twelve Years under the DMCA it seems like we should be able to learn a lesson from them. Instead of passing laws like the DMCA in Canada lets actually look forward to creating a copyright law that will actually help instead of making us all criminals for doing things we are still going to do if the law passes.