Dear LoveCat Music Part 2

Doesn’t a decade fly? Ten short years. Ten years since I had to abandon my fledgling youtube channel – Goodbye MrCheapkills.

So why am I posting this? Surely you’re still not bitter Dave?

Well no, I’m not. In fact the only time I ever reflect on the events that caused me to abandon a channel as it was starting to take off was when a fake account would message me out of the blue to ask me to take my original posts about the issue down. Like this one:Screenshot_20200427_001410_com.android.chrome

Yes,  2017. Three years ago.

What about the stuff from 2010, what’s that all about? Well you’d need to have a look at the saga, and especially the comments from that time: Here’s all the relevant posts from that time

So why post now?

Because after a decade I’ve had another communication, this time from the man himself. Mr Randy Fischer everybody, the Big B himself, Ariel, Sarah, and Benny. Apparently the posts have upset his daughter, and times are tough.

Apparently I should “let bygones be bygones”. Randy, I have. I did. I posted a contemporaneous account of what happened at the time while you dicked me around from fake accounts, and then I got on with my life.

But since we’re apparently stuck in the past. Let’s rediscover what YouTube (YT) was like in 2010. It was a time when YT was under pressure to act on copyright infringement following a less than exemplary history (during which time it actively encouraged users to upload infringing content).

YT introduced a Copyright Strike system which was a 3 strikes and you’re out system. At the time the strikes did not expire and unless you had a lot of clout you couldn’t really do anything about it. So if your channel got strikes, it was in serious jeopardy.

As well as randomly finding infringing videos, YT introduced a content matching system that would detect if audio used in a video matched an entry in its database. From that match the copyright holder could decide what to do.

The content matching system wasn’t a nuke. It could also be used just to mute infringing content, or be used to take any revenue from advertising on that video. To be clear, for a channel to receive a Copyright Strike (the most serious infringement) THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER HAD TO REQUEST IT.

That’s what our Randy did. To over 600 videos. I don’t know how many channels received strikes, but over 600 videos were gone. Except for two. One appears to be a random video that may have been missed (hey, Randy nuke that shit!) and the other is from the actual content creator (i.e. ultimate copyright holder) whose video STILL encourages users to use his music and upload videos – ten years later (which will then get pulled by the YT content matching system I assume).

So here’s the situation, Randy:

Bygones are bygones. I don’t give a shit about LoveCatMusic, or Love Cat Music, or LoveCat Music, or LoveCatMusic.com. All the posts relating to Love Cat Music are a contemporaneous account of what happened at the time, are not libellous, and are not coming down.

I agree, these are tough times. And I think what’s happening is that you may be attempting to sanitise the history of LoveCatMusic to make you more attractive to clients. But perhaps after weeding out all the bits you can control you find that my decade old blog post suddenly creeps up the search engine ranks? I don’t know, I’m just, as President Trump would say, spitballing here. I haven’t even bothered to google you or your site to see if it’s any better than it was in 2010 because bygones really are bygones.

Randy, you said that your daughter read my posts and was upset and disturbed…. Erm, okay. Well, I guess that’s the price you pay for being a dick a decade ago. For creating fake accounts to try and gaslight me and others. For refusing to even confirm that you had the authority to nuke 600 videos. To take advantage of the YT copyright strike system to make a quick buck (the track had been used in the soundtrack of Super Troopers).

Yup, times are tough. Times were tough in 2010. You have no idea how tough. So here’s some friendly advice for you to move on with, so that YOU can let bygones be bygones. Perhaps even how to explain it to your daughter (if she actually exists).

  1. Abandon the business you have tried to build up. Ditch Love Cat Music and recreate under a new name. Can I suggest Cat Love Music? (it’s pretty much what I had to do).
  2. Teach your daughter that what you do on the internet is forever. That’s a good life lesson.
  3. Explain to her that ten years ago you thought it was more important to be a dick than to consider what would happen to the 600 channels you served copyright strikes on.
  4. Make sure she understands the importance of integrity, especially in NOT creating fake accounts instead of engaging legitimately.
  5. Lastly and most importantly, ten years after the fact is generally not the time to get the resolution YOU want from the person you fucked over at the time.

And a final life lesson. Posting “Confidential” on a an unsolicited private message does not make is private, or confidential. So here’s the last round of comms from you:Screenshot_20200428_222824_com.android.chromeScreenshot_20200428_222833_com.android.chromeScreenshot_20200428_222843_com.android.chrome

The blogs stay. Don’t message me again. The water is under the bridge. The bygone is gone. Don’t be a dick.

Faux Environmentalism

“We’re tackling environmental issues by charging our customers more” seems to be a popular strategy right now for companies attempting to address environmental issues without actually making any meaningful changes. Pollution from discarded plastic and plastic based products is heading towards a toxic tipping point. Awareness of the issues of plastics in our oceans has been publicised since at least the 1980s, but until now the effect on habitats and wildlife has remained mainly the concern of environmentalists.

While some companies are truly environmentally friendly, as a species we really can’t do without plastics. The use of plastic is all pervasive and it is involved in virtually every aspect of our lives. However, this is not a post about ditching plastic entirely – that would currently be impossible, what it’s about is doing more to eliminate unnecessary plastic use.

But it has to start from the top – from the manufacturers, from big business and here’s why:

Here in the UK a “Latte levy” had been suggested which would be a tax on disposable cups used by coffee companies paid by the end user (the consumer or customer). Many disposable cups are made of a plastic/paper/card composite that is difficult to recycle in a cost effective way and so are not widely recycled. There was murmurings that it was a good idea to charge consumers to offset the cost of disposing of the cups. Notice I used the term “disposing” rather than “recycling” in the last sentence. That’s because the vast majority of plastics sent for recycling end up in landfill. So effectively the consumer will be be charged more for no real environmental gain.

Which brings us to the real question: why is the onus being put on the consumer, on the end user to resolve what is a design issue from the manufacturer? Why aren’t producers of polluting products being taxed at source to offset the cost of disposing of their end product? The conversation seems to go like this:

Big business: We’re addressing environmental issues by charging customers more help cover the costs of disposing of their packaging.
Sane person: Or you could just use recyclable packaging to begin with?
Big business: But that would involve extra costs for us that we would have to pass on to our customers!
Sane person: But you’re going to increase the price anyway to cover disposal costs which just increases plastics in landfills, without making any actual environmental changes!
Big business: It’s just not a cost we can absorb. But consumers will be helping the environment by paying the extra recycling cost.

And that is it in a nutshell: consumers do not get to choose how their product is packaged, the producer/manufacturer does that. They decide whether to use recyclable or renewable materials, not the customer. What customers decide is what/where to buy but while pretty much all producers package using unsustainable materials the consumer has no choice other than to buy plastics. As such it is patently unfair and duplicitous for recycling costs to be placed on the customer.

So here’s a message to companies out there: if you want to make a difference, start using alternatives to plastic in your packaging. Those companies that do this will see more consumer loyalty as people become more environmentally sensitive to the threat of plastics in the oceans.

If you know of companies that are producing or selling their products in environmentally sustainable/recyclable non-plastic packaging then please post them in the comments.

The Robots Are Coming

A burger flipping robot has started its first shift at work in a burger chain in California. For some it’s a great advancement, a step forward in robotics. For others…. well, it could be a portent of things to come.

First off, this burger flipping robot is not perfect and does make mistakes. This is something that the owners are willing to accept because “hey, if you spent your day flipping burgers you’d make mistakes too….” – which is not exactly what I want from any robot I come into contact with. Think of Hal9000 with a spatula rather than an airlock.

A robot is programmed to fulfil a task, if it fails to complete that task then is it really any more effective than a human? Cost-wise it’s probably cheaper (which is where this post is going) with an initial outlay of $60k then $12k a year to run. Ignoring any rogue spatula based catastrophes that require compensation to an unsuspected but perfectly grilled passing human, these robots are cheaper and less problematic to operate than a human burger flipper.

How? Currently, minimum wage in California is $10.50 per hour which works out at just over $20k per year (rising to $15 in 2022 – $29,250pa). Financially these robots will pay for themselves in less than three years because they don’t need holidays, aren’t entitled to workers comp, or any of the other associated costs to businesses that pesky employees attract.

Which brings us to the point of this post. For every menial, mindless, monotonous, boring job out there: the only reason a human does it is because there’s not currently an cheaper way for a robot to do it. While I 100% back increases in wages to keep up with the cost of living, on the flip side we’re also encouraging employers to mitigate those pay rises. No company enjoys paying wages and as is seen practically everywhere profits go to shareholders instead of investing in people.

The makers of robots and futurists say that while jobs will be lost to robots, other jobs will be created to replace them. However, you only have to look at the industrial revolution to see that with mechanisation came unemployment for skilled workers – as their jobs were replaced by steam powered mills and engines. People left the countryside for the cities in search of work, and many only found the workhouses. In more modern times here in the UK the shipyards, the steel mills, the coal mines have closed with thousands of people made unemployed and unable to find replacement employment.

There will come a time when practically every job will be done by a robot (unless we blow the planet up first), and I’m hard pressed to come up with anything that we can do that feasibly a robot could not. Although hopefully, in the future, we’ll be more “there are failsafes in place to prevent accidents” rather than “yeah, it makes mistakes sometimes”.

BBC News – Burger Flipping Robot

Prey

I recently played Prey, which is kind of an old release 2016, but considering I still do the Macarena it’s fairly current for me. It starts out in the usual fps tutorial way: you wake up and don’t have a clue what’s going on, but it’s okay because some disembodied “ally” voice is ready to guide you.

The graphics are great and the interface is fairly intuitive, and when you first run into those pesky mimics it is quite tense. Hint: always carry a turret with you.

The premise is .. well I’m not entirely sure. You start out thinking you’re on earth, even go for a little helicopter ride to the office because no one takes a taxi in San Francisco any more(?). But it turns out your on a space station that has been attacked by shape shifting alien space filth known as mimics.

The game is part puzzle, part shooter, part survival horror and the atmospherics, music and soundscape definitely make it an immersive experience. When I did my space walk I was actually concerned about floating off into nothingness.

However, it was shortly after that that I stopped playing. Maybe I quit too soon but following the spacewalk you’re given information that renders all future effort futile: your mission is to destroy the station, and you with it, to prevent the alien organism from reaching earth.

So that was it for me. Survival horror titles usually have that glimmer of hope that you’ll get out alive (even if you don’t). For me, this rendered continuing pointless.

And that’s it. Great looking game, battle dynamics are good, puzzles are logical, and maybe I quit too soon?

It would seem that perhaps I did: http://m.uk.ign.com/wikis/prey-2017/Endings

‘HELLO’ FROM AMAZON – Big Brother style review censorship

Amazon goes off half cocked again….

writerchristophfischer

Dear Readers

A few weeks ago I woke up to this message:

Hello from Amazon.com images

We are writing to inform you that we have removed your review privileges and suppressed all of your reviews. Any new reviews written will automatically be suppressed. We took this action because you have failed to comply with our review guidelines and manipulated product reviews. For detailed information on the guidelines, please visit: http://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines.

Surprised and curious I asked them for clarification on the matter but have had no personal reply to my appeal. Amazon removed all of the reviews I wrote: 1700 of them without discussion or ‘trial’. Eventually I received this:

Hello, images (1)

We’ve removed Customer Reviews left by your account because it’s come to our attention that you have violated our policies by manipulating Customer Reviews. Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or Customer Reviews is prohibited.

After reviewing your account, we’ve determined…

View original post 744 more words

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

I’m thinking of entering ‘Lament for the Living’ into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award thingy.  What is that? I hear you ask. Well my friend, I’ll tell you….

I don’t really know. I think it’s a lot of self promotion and blah blah blahing with some sort of prize at the end that may or may not result in fulfilling my wildest dreams. No, wait, thinking about it that was winning the lottery and becoming uncontested ruler of the world, which I think is outside the scope of the Breakthrough Novel Award.

Considering that the Amazon best sellers list ranges from romance to literary porn I don’t really see ‘Lament for the Living’ making much of an impact, but let’s give it a go anyway.

This is where you come in, oh faithful reader and confidante. I have to include an excerpt of the book in the application. So from you I would like suggestions of which section you enjoyed the most, what part had the biggest impact on you, what scene really gripped you?

You don’t need to remember what chapter, paragraph, line etc., just drop a comment saying something like “The bit where…..” and I’ll know what you’re on about.

Thanks for your input and your continued support.

All the best

David