Are content owners serious about discouraging piracy?

You have to wonder, are content owners truly serious about discouraging piracy of their content?

In 2016 Australia’s Federal Government passed legislation allowing content providers and license holders to apply to the courts to having illegal distribution sites (e.g. torrenting sites) blocked by ISPs. Foxtel, a longtime pay tv provider, began the process of applying to the courts to request a series of sites be blocked; several applications have been made since.

I have no problem with content providers wanting to make a buck from their efforts, no one wants to work for free after all, but what I do have a problem with is where they don’t allow us access to their content at all. I happen to enjoy the CW program The Originals, season 4 has already concluded but here in Australia you cannot access it anywhere. Foxtel channel Fox8 is its typical home, and prior seasons are also available on Netflix, but Foxtel doesn’t appear to have even showed this season, and doesn’t have access to prior seasons either.

I have purchased a number of season passes with Apple’s iTunes, and for many months now have been searching for the show in hopes it might finally turn up, given it is available within the United States iTunes store. This leads me to believe that the content owners are targeting, punishing Australia for content piracy which is hardly going to encourage a take up a legal means of access.

Maybe content owners need to look to the opportunity now occurring in Australia, we finally have inexpensive means of accessing content at a time when they can apply to block those torrenting sites. If they are serious about discouraging piracy, make the content available to the various services and give them a fighting chance.

Senator Ludlum

Just a few days ago Federal Senator within the Greens Party, Scott Ludlum, advised the nation he would have to resign after being advised he still had New Zealander citizenship. He’d lived here since age 3 and naturalised as an Australian in his teenage years, thus thought he was no longer a citizen of his birth country, seeking then to serve his new country within its parliament. 

I have always found Senator Ludlum to be a great and hard working politician, even though I may not vote for him. In the days since he announced his resignation due to the constitution not permitting him to serve, how utterly bloody stupid is that, there have been suggestions he might need to repay his salary back to the Australian people, some $1.6 million. 

Have we forgotten he actually served his country, his constituents, he debated in parliament and on its committees? I do hope that our government will look at this and say it was an honest mistake and not expect repayment as that would be truly disgusting behaviour. Just such a pity our parliament loses a hard working and dedicated person due to a constitutional provision. 

Sleep eludes me

I’ve never had much trouble adjusting to travel, this despite the fact that I cannot sleep on a plane to save myself. This was proven back in 2011 when after 40 hours awake I finally arrived in Calgary, Canada, hit the bed within 30 minutes of arriving at my hotel and was up and hitting the ground running at 8am the next morning. 

Having returned from two weeks in France just 9 days ago I have found this time I am definitely not hitting the ground running. I got home and after getting some food went to sleep for some 16 hours, then the next two nights I slept 11 hours a piece. I had thought on my first day back to work I was reset, I awoke nearer to my normal waking time, but the next day I nearly didn’t wake in time to go to work… oops!

I’m wondering if our being in winter has anything to do with my having trouble with adjusting, the mornings dark into 7am at the moment. 

My doctor prescribed me Melatonin this morning. I have never had this before, but she assures me it is wonderful at helping to reset the body clock. I hope so. 

French holiday ends

It’s hard to believe that several weeks can pass so quickly, but I think when you’re holidaying somehow time manages to move at a faster pace than when you’re waiting for that holiday to arrive.

My time in France was met with some particularly hot weather, the French kept assuring us that it was abnormally hot for June with temperatures ranging from 36 to 38 degrees most days and also humid. I’m not one for spending much time in the sun, thus I was the most obvious candidate for sunburn, I kept forgetting to apply the cream to protect myself, or reapply it when I had put it on. Thankfully by the time my Trafalgar tour returned to Paris weather returned to a more normal mid- to high-20s, though still humid.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to France was to finally use that French I’d learned in school all those years ago. For six years I’d learned the language, and achieved high grades, thus I was keen to apply that which I’d learned. It was immediately apparent when listening to the French speak I was never going to be able to keep up with them, or fully understand all that was being spoken, they were too quick and there was no way our classes could span the entirety of the language. I found it interesting between different hotels I’d stayed in that some used “etage” for floor/level whilst most used “niveau”.

One observation I made during my time in France related to French waiters and their confidence with English and taking orders. When in Rennes our waiter spoke very limited English, in fact most waiters in that restaurant indicated this, thus most in my group just pointed to the menu items when ordering. For myself, I chose to speak to the waiter in French hoping it would make the already nervous individual feel more comfortable, funny enough it didn’t. I found here and in other places despite ordering in their language often items never turned up, either they were on the bill (Rennes) and not delivered, or just not included at all (Tuileries).

I had a great time in France, as well as a day trip to visit the stunning Belgian city of Bruges. I very much enjoyed visiting the many old buildings, many of which pre-date European settlement of my own country, their utter beauty, craftsmanship and engineering skill leaving me in awe. Completing my third Trafalgar tour I am again glad I selected them as my tour company, I have again walked away with several new friends as I did from my first tour sixteen years ago.

One thing I think I have learned is that I really should upgrade my flying from now on to at least Premium Economy, the extra legroom is worth the added expense. Following my arrival in France, and after having walked around the Notre Dame area waiting for my hotel to become ready, that night I had the worst cramping in my right leg and did initially fear the worst that I might have a DVT. I had a massive bruise appear mid-way on my left thigh which really did scare me, it didn’t occur to me until two days later that it had been caused by a Paris Metro turnstile having jarred rather nastily against that thigh when I had to force my way through – I was much relieved once I recalled this.

Returning to Perth on the Wednesday flight I made sure to drink plenty of fluids and for the first time I swapped to the aisle seat instead of my usual window seat preference. The ability to jut my legs into the aisle for additional stretch not available within my usual seat was certainly nice, as was the ability to just get up every so often and not annoy someone to do so.

Now back in Perth it is a chilly 16 degrees celsius, though I think we may have been cooler today and had a crap load of rain, what a difference half a world makes.

Travels in France

I flew out of Perth on the 15th June for France on Singapore Airlines, excited as it was to be my first flight on the A380, which I had heard was supposed to provide greater leg room. Well I can sadly lay that rumour to rest, it was not a comfortable flight for me at all, it was warm and leg room was awful.

The net effect of my leg room issues was that the night if my arrival I had terrible leg cramps, primarily in my right leg, but also some uncomfortable ones in the left. 

Two days in I commenced a Trafalgar CostSaver Tour of France, taking in the sights at: Paris, Rouen, Honfleur, Deauville, Mont Saint Michel, Omaha Beach (D-Day), Rennes, Amboise, Tours and the Loire Valley chateaux. We started out with nice, mild weather, but by the time we left Paris for Rouen the weather warmed, and by the time we’d reached Honfleur a few hours later the sun was out in force and so to was the humidity. The heat remained with us for 5 days until our return to Paris, it made for hard going as we were often having to go up and down stairs in unconditioned historic buildings. 

Our Tour Director, Brian Tait, a half-American half-French man, was very good at keeping us on track, entertaining and informing us, and providing support for those who needed a bit of language assistance. On one evening we had an optional dinner out, a 37 degree day and high humidity, we were all a tad worried, and getting to our dinner venue nothing was allayed when upstairs the had only pedestal fans and windows that didn’t open. Despite this, our arranged entertainment was great, he got us involved singing various songs throughout the night, and later Brian joined in with mouth accordion and sang a French song, we loved it. 

As with my first-ever Trafalgar Tour, also a costsaver, where I made lasting friendships with some wonderful women in Mexico, I also made friendships with several women from New Zealand, Canada and the United States. I’ve found the people in the costsaver tours often mingled more, but also generally my experience with Trafalgar has been one of a company that encourages you to early-on get to know others in your tour, something I haven’t experienced with other organised tours sadly, something that always attracts my return. 

My Trafalgar Tour now over I have a few days now where I am doing day tours, the first to Versailles & Giverny, and the following day to Bruges in Belgium. Then, one free day before I fly home, I’m not looking forward to those return flights, I’m currently waiting to hear whether I will be upgraded (at a fee) to Premium Economy.

Samsung Smart TV

In late 2015 I bought myself a 55 inch Samsung 4K Curved Smart TV, and it was beautiful. I had nothing to complain about the tv that it replaced, a 46 inch FullHD Sony Bravia, however it lacked all the features and the resolution.

I had intended to purchase another Sony TV when I went to JB HiFi that day, however they didn’t have any in stock, thus I needed to look at something else. The curved was something I considered a little wanky to be quite honest, and as an owner of nearly 2 years now it really is a marketing gimmick quite frankly, it means nothing to you when sitting your arse in front of the screen to watch Netflix.

I’ve found Samsung to be a bit of an annoying platform for various reasons, which I will outline here:

  • The TV Guide is just crap to use. My friend and housemate, who bought a smaller Sony Bravia 4K before me (inspiring my purchase), has a much nicer to use TV guide that is even quite visual. By comparison, if I decide to move up/down in my guide the tv pauses as it attempts to access the tv channel to gather the data, a terrible experience.
  • Turning the tv on is nice and quick with the quick start feature, however it attempts to log in to your Samsung account which may or may not take FOREVER slowing the tv to an absolute halt, don’t even try to access features on the tv or change channels, and don’t try to pass GO.
  • Access to apps. Some apps that exist on my friend’s tv just don’t exist on mine, the Channel 9 app being one, I’ve actually had to install this on my Apple TV just to watch their content. The new Foxtel service I went searching for today, it too is not available.
  • The remote control is great to use, but it can also be frustrating to use. The smart pointer can sometimes just decide not to function and be very difficult to make the pointer re-display. Inconsistent access to the smart point within applications is also annoying, some recognise it, some do not. If you remote’s navigation buttons are playing up, as mine are, then this not working is just plain annoying.
  • Just today I had a ‘data service’ notice pop up on-screen and nothing would show, it took me 30 minutes just to get tv service to resume on the tv once more. Thank god for the internet providing hints on what I should do. My last resort was going to be to pull the plug, this has worked for caching errors the tv has experienced, 10 minutes or so required.

I think when I next come to replacing my television I will look away from Samsung towards a better brand, one less problematic. I think I will insist on playing with the tv far more in-store before buying it, I didn’t do that enough this time to my detriment.

Time for a fresh brew, and name

For the longest time I can recall not liking my name, Bryan. My own spelling is the less common, most spell it with an “i”, thus colour me surprised should anyone spell it correctly. I think another reason I have a negative association with my birth name was all the years of bullying, it’s hard for me to separate the two. 

Ever since the upper high school in the late 1980s I had been thinking about my name and perhaps changing it. It was at this time I had discovered my grandfather had changed our family name at request of his wife to be. In the early 1990s I reversed that family name change, for me it actually meant something. At the time I considered changing my name too but chickened out doing so, I wasn’t ready. 

The loss of my brother recently has made me step back and think about things, my name being one of these. For years I have used my preferred name on forums, or if I didn’t want to give my real name to someone, this my decision to change this past weekend seemed natural. 

My decision to change made I changed my name on Facebook and made a post with one of those new colourful backgrounds. Generally most were supportive, while some expressed support but said they liked the old. 

Changing things at work was interesting, at present of course it’s just a ‘preferred name’ rather than by deed poll, but thankfully our systems support this kind of change. Having been at my employer so long I qualify for archival, I am quite well known by many people, thus adopting a new name may lead people to thinking I’ve left when I don’t come up in their searches. Or, as one staff member queried yesterday, asking whether the name change was all that was changing. Indeed the name is as far as this journey goes, but his asking made me laugh.

Suddenly I find myself the subject of curiosity in the office, and people tripping over the old name worried about getting it wrong. Some don’t yet know, so my supervisor is to send a tongue-in-cheek email shortly that tells people I’ve undergone a rebranding, I loved the suggestion. 

My journey begins anew. Hi! I’m Corin 🙂