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“The Craigslist Killer” Moniker: “Journalistic” Jingoism and the Growing P.R. Problem at Craigslist


It turns on  alliteration sharper than a sword, besides plumbing the association of murder most foul  with the can-do-goodism of a people’s advertising daily named Craigslist – the internet upstart that  has, since 1995,   upended  the advertising model of the  old media; the same media that is now  blithely tarring the internet upstart  with the “killer” moniker.

What gives? The logic behind the knee-jerk association rarely stands up to scrutiny …. or  reason. Take the then most recent case in this  saga: The tragic killing of Garret Berki,  an 18 year old college student, following  a meeting in San Diego  at which the student was hoping to buy a MacBook Pro he had seen in the  Craigslist classifieds. The meet-up turned into a robbery which ended tragically  when the student who had been robbed of $600 and a couple of cell-phones,  cornered the  perpetrators in a residential cul-de-sac. One of them shot Garrett who died about an hour later from a wound to the chest. A  sad, tragic story if ever there was one, but the representation of it across printed and electronic media raises  questions about how old media operatives, who should know better,  have been labeling this story. Coincidence or collusion? You be the judge.

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My marriage to the Microsoft Windows platform has become a marriage of convenience


The love is gone, but I am staying for the children, biding my time until they grow up and leave the nest. The children being a couple of of Windows desktops, and two Sony Vaio laptops, all running the Windows XP operating system, which is rated by some to be the most stable operating system the boys in Redmond have ever produced after the customary missteps of the beta versions. The other children include documents encoded in Word, other software and peripherals.

I ditched the Windows Mobile 5 two years ago after having been initially  enchanted by the HTC 8525. The software updates and instalments proved unnecessary headaches and when expiring certificates rendered some of the features unusable, it was time to give the handheld the old “das boot.” I have never looked back and would be more than happy to use the former smart phone as a door stop. All the kings horses and all the kings men would never be able to drag me within sniffing distance of a Windows phone now. Not in this lifetime anyway.

My latest annoyance with Microsoft came this evening when I discovered that one of my laptops no longer has the Internet Explorer desktop icons. I do not use Internet Explorer in favor of the more robust and functional Firefox. However I do need Internet Explorer as an alternate browser, especially when visiting sites that require the browser to view or download things, the Microsoft Update website being one of them.

A search of the web showed that Internet Explore had been unbundled from Windows by Microsoft as a result of anti-trust litigation in Europe. The unbundling had been done through updates which in addition to the actual uncoupling of the browser from the operating system, erased the browser icon from the desktop. I had been too busy working with the Firefox browser to notice and now that I had, I didn’t know where to begin. Several proposed solutions, some of which involved editing the registry, didn’t work. Finally when I was near my wits’ end, I found this little software gizmo called the  Microsoft Fix it 50228 on the Microsoft website:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945402

It did the job, but I am still pissed that it took me all this time to find something which shouldn’t be too hard to find given the ubiquity of the problem of disappearing Internet Explorer icons  since the release of the soft-ware that uncoupled the browser from the operating system.  I am also pissed at the way some of these Microsoft updates  screw you over by installing stuff you don’t like.  The way the update prompts tried to push the bloated  Internet Explorer 7 or 8 was annoying.  One had to be vigilant about nixing it each and everytime.

I am so done with Microsoft its not even funny. The weird menage a trois between  Microsoft, myself and its hardware partners has run its course.

Cyberaxis Media Center


The Bane of Media Usage: Unrelenting commercialism interrupted by useful tid-bits of information, is still there but there is something to be said for "free" TV, news, movies & documentaries that that one can get through the magic of the world wide web. The computer as your own personal console to the world of "free" content, as in non-subscription, is a revolutionary concept that for-profit cable companies don't like to think about much.

The internet and the erosion of subscription TV, cable and associated media

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

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Please  report any broken, dead or misdirecting links via the comments section below. Some become defunct after we post them on this page. Thank you for your cooperation.

AGGREGATORS

Hulu Television, Video and Documentaries

TV.COM Television

VEOH Television. Video and Documentaries

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NEWS PLUS

ABC News: Diane Sawyer

ABC Video

ABC Tech

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NBC

Today On MSNBC

MSNBC TV

Nightly News: Brian Williams

American Greed: MSNBC

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CBS

CBS Video: Up To The Minute

CBS News Main

CBS News:  Katie Couric

CBS 60 Minutes

CBS Face The Nation

CBS 48 Hours – Full Episodes

CBS 5 – KPHO Video, Phoenix, AZ

WRAL TV Video

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Portuguese TV

RTP Portuguese Television – Main Page

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CNN CHANNEL

CNN Video

CNN Main

CNN Tech

CNN Live

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VHI VIDEO

VH1 Video Main

VH1 All Music

VH1 Top 20

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YAHOO

Yahoo Video

Yahoo Tech

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KRON 4 TV News

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MOVIES

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BUSINESS

Bloomberg TV

Forbes Video

Fox Business Main

Fox Business On-air

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DOCUMENTARIES

Trails From The East

Future Express – Australia

DocumentaryWire.Com

Link TV Documentaries

Top Documentary Films

SnagFilms.Com

TV.COM Video and Documentaries

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

National Geographic

National Geographic – History

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EDUCATIONAL

Research Channel – USA

Link TV Main

Link TV Clips

BBC One

Fora TV

History Channel Videos

Diet TV

Wall Street Journal Tech Video

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MUSIC

O Canal De HipHop Portugues!

Link TV Best Music Videos

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MISCELLANEOUS

Entertainment TV (USA)

The Art Channel – USA

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SPORTS

High Stakes Poker

Poker TV

Yahoo Sports

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WEBCAMS

Appendix: The internet and the erosion of subscription TV, cable and associated media

This list of free TV, video, film and radio  is a work in progress. Links are gonna be added and deleted as time progresses. So if you find something you really like, save it to your bookmarks. Meanwhile, consider this your own Free Media Console. The smoothness of the play will depend of several factors like your connection, settings and or the streaming aspect of the website you are accessing. So be patient.

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

“After Israel, Australia is the country with the highest percentage of immigrants in the world. A quarter of the population originates in other countries. Almost half the population is of Asian descent in the big urban centers. Most of them are young and well-educated. They are a new type of immigrant, able to fit in anywhere in Australia and around the world.”  (Link TV)

The internet and the erosion of subscription TV, cable and associated media


The best television is free. So is video when one considers the cost-benefit ratio of what the masses usually get. Crap is the coin of the realm and what passes for content is an unrelenting stream commercialism interrupted by bits of pertinent information and entertainment.

Going without cable or satellite is unthinkable to many Americans — just over 90% of U.S. households subscribe to some form of pay TV. But just as mobile phones have replaced many customers’ land-line service, Vittore said on-demand Internet video will soon whittle that 90% figure down. (Vince Vittore, Analyst, Yankee Group)

But all that is in the process of changing under the unrelenting onslaught of  the internet and associated technologies. Say hello to the more democratized milieu of the world wide web.

We at Cyberaxis are not deluded however. The ancien (media) regime is not dead. Corporations and their governmental cohorts still rule the world, but cracks in the edifice still do appear from time to time: cracks in which hardy foliage grows.

The internet has changed a lot of the rules of the game and the vested stakeholders, both corporate and governmental, are scrambling to jostle for new pole positions. (Read up on internet neutrality, privacy and custodianship of information in the brave new world.) And nowhere is this dissolution, this lysis, more evident than in the area of the old media versus the new.

Cable had a chance earlier in the decade to give us an a la carte service. They chose not to. It may be too late for them. The model is changing so fast they may never get the lost viewers back no matter how nice they decide to play now.  (Everett Hutchinson)

The subscription model of content as purveyed by the cable and satellite industry is being whacked by the internet just like the film, recording and newspaper industry were undermined by the same. The aspect of retributive justice is not lost on many. Free is the new good in the millenium of bits, bytes, hotspots and the brave new world of the world wide web. The Google story is very instructive of what has happened in terms of free content.

Man with laptop on beach.

On the beaches of the world wide web, free is good.  Hallelujah and thank you Jesus!  (Photo by Avava)

As far as electronic content is concerned, start your search here for the yellow brick road that leads to the Emerald City. What we hope for is none other than a living manifesto of liberation ……  Liberation of the new netizen from the chains of the ancien regime.

Start with the Cyberaxis Media Center here.

This list of free TV, video, film and radio  is a work in progress. Links are gonna be added and deleted as time progresses. So if you find something you really like, save it to your bookmarks. Meanwhile, consider this your own Free Media Console. The smoothness of the play will depend of several factors like your connection, settings and or the streaming aspect of the website you are accessing.  In some cases you need to let the video load at little before commencing play. So be patient. We’ll get there.

I cut my cable service completely. I don’t pay for a home phone either. I found out that Comcast does not like that at all. They doubled what I pay for internet and capped how much data I can stream per month. $60/mo for internet is close to ridiculous. I read somewhere that internet only takes up the bandwidth of two channels. That means I’m paying $60/mo for two stinking channels. I hate Comcast. The value of cable has become so inflated, the market is bound for a correction at some point. I hope mobile broadband can give the cable company a run for their money. (Fill Westcott)

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

Appendix:

TV Is Dying, And Here Are The Stats That Prove It (Jim Edwards, Business Insider/Yahoo Finance)

Cyberaxis Media Center (Cyberaxis)

Estimate: 800,000 U.S. Households Abandoned Their TVs For The Web (Tech Crunch)

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin – The Microsoft Story And The Future Of Computing: Select readings from the net


Is It Ballmer’s Fault by Matt Asay

Microsoft is in significant disarray, fettered by its desktop dominance as the world goes mobile. Would this have happened anyway, or is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to blame?

Ballmer, after all, knows how to sing to developers, but he doesn’t really speak their language. Former Microsoft CEO and co-founder Bill Gates did. Now, more than ever, Microsoft needs to get in front of developers but finds itself playing catch-up.

Gates announced his resignation back in 2006 and formally discarded his full-time Microsoft duties in 2008. But it has been a long time since Gates’ hand was full time on the steering wheel. (Matt Asay,  The Open Road – CNET News)

Mark Anderson to Microsoft: Your consumer business is dead by John Cook

Microsoft Is Losing Fight for Consumers, Analyst Says by Steve Lohr

“Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market,” he said. “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.” (Mark Anderson)

If Microsoft loses in smartphones, Mr. Anderson noted, “It is pretty grim. Those applications are going to move upstream.”

The underlying problem, Mr. Anderson said, is cultural. “Phones are consumer items, and Microsoft doesn’t have consumer DNA,” he said.

“Walk the halls at Microsoft and you can see it is not a place that gets consumers,” Mr. Anderson said. “Just as if you walk the halls at Google, it’s obvious it is not a place that gets the enterprise world.” ( Steve Lohr, The New York Times – Technonogy)

The End of the Microsoft Empire? by Alex Salkever

The abysmal quarter reported last week by Microsoft was hardly a one-time occurrence. While Redmond may bounce back somewhat in the future, a host of headwinds makes a return to dominance highly unlikely for the software giant.

“… The sun is clearly setting on the Age of Microsoft as the pre-eminent software company in the world. Shareholders have known this for a while.” (Alex Salkever, July 27, 2009)

Putting Lipstick On Microsoft’s Pigs by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

“Microsoft has always touted itself as an innovator,” Wolf begins in a section entitled The Sincerest Form of Flattery. “But the company’s true genius has stemmed from its ability to copy the ideas of others.” (Charles Wolf as quoted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt)

The Second Clone War by Gerry Patterson

“Much of Microsoft’s marketing power depends on its perceived market dominance, or leadership, which is the term the corporation now prefers. If the the customer base, or more correctly consumers perceive that the desktop village is just a one-horse town, and that horse is stabled in Redmond, then of course, an individual consumer would be unwise to purchase anything but Microsoft products. This is an effect which could be termed the VHS principle, in deference to the Video Wars. And it all depends on perceived market share. If Microsoft shows the slightest concern about Open Source, however, the tiny cracks in the dam may widen rapidly.” (Gerry Patterson)

The Future Looks Bright for Microsoft? by Gerry Patterson

“Is the future bright for Microsoft? It would certainly seem so. However, there may be some dark clouds looming on that bright horizon.” (Gerry Patterson)

A Future Without Microsoft by Tony Mobily

“Regardless of how much hype Microsoft creates, the world still runs on Unix—and most of those servers are GNU/Linux machines. Your Netgear router has Linux in it. Your Internet provider is very likely to be running on GNU/Linux servers. So is your office. It’s a little hard to come by hard numbers, because anybody can download CentOS and deploy a top-class server in minutes. Each GNU/Linux server has stolen market share to the proprietary, expensive Windows NT—and Microsoft is immensely unlikely to get that market back.” (Tony Mobily)

Platform Wars: The Clone Wars by Tim Oren

“IBM counted on the power of its marketing, distribution, and reputation with customers to force these changes through. IBM lost its bet, badly.” (Tim Oren)

The New Microsoft PC Ads: As Fake As Lauren’s Red Hair

“Microsoft cannot expect people to buy Lauren’s argument without insulting their intelligence at some level. There are more factors (that go into buying a laptop than mere price. These include Microsoft’s product history and its  most recent  egg, the Vista operating system. Microsoft should be dealing with that instead of churning out lame ads …
“Right next to reinventing itself from the guts, the Microsoft needs to sever its marketing and advertising arm along with crappy ad agencies  like McCann Erickson Worldwide,  and Crispin Porter + Bogusky…. With a $300 million, budget, Microsoft  could have done way better. The CNN Money/ Fortune assumption that this lame campaign has put Apple on the defensive is terminally silly.” (Cyberaxis)

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Microsoft in 2010: Four Challenges That Lie Ahead by Shane O’neill

CIO – When you’re a technology mongrel like Microsoft, challenges are constant – and 2009 was chock full of them. It was a tumultuous year that saw the software giant’s first widespread layoffs and its worst quarterly revenue earnings ever.

“If Microsoft delays much longer on producing a decent mobile platform with software, services and partners,” says veteran industry analyst Roger Kay, “then it will be out of the game.”

Microsoft’s Long Slow Decline by John Gruber

“Windows is at the core of everything Microsoft does that makes money. They sell Windows, then they sell software that runs on Windows. As Windows goes, so goes Microsoft, and right now Windows is heading south.” (John Gruber)

The Case of the AT&T $10 DSL Plan That Really Never Was: Who is looking out for the small guy here?


This is an infuriating case of corporate chicanery coupled with FCC regulatory complicity. And while you are at it you can also tar and feather the mainstream  media for not taking the blow-torch to the accomplices’ derrieres. (Was it fear of  biting the hand that feeds it – at least as far as the electronic media is concerned?) For the record, here is AT&T’s dossier as fearlessly  dslreports.com’s Karl Bode:

“When the FCC allowed AT&T to acquire BellSouth in one of the largest telecom deals ever, the agency enacted a series of wimpy conditions (pdf). Not only were most of the conditions simply for show, but the FCC made it very clear they really had no intention of enforcing them. AT&T was supposed to offer naked or 768kbps $10 DSL for two years after the merger, but skirted around the condition’s purpose by never advertising the services, and making it difficult to order them until people really started complaining. The FCC napped.

AT&T denied obfuscation and tried to claim that nobody really wanted dirt cheap unbundled DSL service anyway. Worse perhaps than the weak and unenforced conditions were the meaningless conditions the FCC knowingly signed off on. Designed more for showmanship than substance, several conditions made consumer advocates, an unskeptical press and inattentive politicians from both parties feel good — but accomplished virtually nothing.” (Karl Bode Broadband DSL Reports)

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/New-FCC-Same-Regulatory-Rubber-Stamp-For-CenturyLink-103109?nocomment=1

DSL for the price of a personal pizza and a coke: AT&T has evgidently conspired not give you that - even under the duress of the FCC, or what passes for it.

DSL for the price of a small pizza and a coke: AT&T evidently conspired not give the public this service that it had promised the FCC in exchange for permission to buy out BellSouth in a merger that would have been verboten a few years prior.

Evidence of AT&T  Chicanery: The key page promoting AT&T DSL plans does not show the $10 plan.

http://att-promotions.com/att-dsl.php

Neither does this one:

http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=7709&CI=CJ_AFFILIATEHSIA&RI=CJ1&RD=37922269&GUID=95B7260E-916B-4FEB-AD2C-D30B4C8908A1;49475679-7463-41E2-B617-7B5E86D1DDCA

However a “$10 DSL” Search will lead you to this page:

http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=7690#hsi

The information about the $10 DSL is tucked within a dense block of unbroken text about 7 lines from the bottom of your screen. As it turns out you have to have a residential phone account and must be a new AT&T and Bell South DSL customer, new being defined as not having possessed their DSL in the last 12 months.

“$10.00 Per Month Basic DSL Offer: For qualifying residential AT&T High Speed Internet customers only. Basic speed ($10.00 per month) available for new customers only. New customer is defined as not having AT&T High Speed Internet or BellSouth High Speed Internet in the past 12 months. Purchase of local service from the applicable AT&T incumbent local exchange carrier required. This is a limited time offer and is only available for AT&T High Speed Internet. Static IP products not included. Speed references based on maximum downstream DSL synch rates and may vary. $150–$200 additional charge will apply if technician install is required or desired. Billing begins on the date service is provisioned by AT&T, even if customer has not yet registered. Service not available in all areas. Subject to change without notice. Maximum speed achieved depends on customer location. Acceptance of Terms of Service required. Taxes and additional fees extra. Other restrictions, including credit restrictions and qualification, apply. Price expires on 12/29/09.”

As indicated the $10 DSL plan is being offered until 12/29/09.  AT&T has not indicated whether it will extend it. Here is an MSNBC cover story soon after news of the deal broke (Notice how charitable they are when it comes to characterizing AT&T’s reluctance to publicize the offer):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19305115

Like squeezing water out of a rock: Even downgrading from a $30/month plan to an advertised $20/month plan was not easy. A call to an AT&T service representative/operator did nothing to dispel the notion that AT&T makes it relatively hard for people to downgrade. The AT& representative feigned ignorance when asked about the $20/month plan. She only conceded to it after we indicated that it had been clearly advertised on TV and indicated the web page on which it could be found. The conversation was distressingly eye-opening.

OK, so we know corporations are crooked when it comes to the almighty dollar. The question to the  FCC is: Who is looking out for the little guy?

Microsoft Lauren seems to be M.I.A.


In the wake of a mini-fire storm about her creds, Lauren De Long‘s place in Microsoft advertising seems to have been taken by a couple of  teeny boppers with no S.A.G. credentials. The fake element – as in hair and supposed customer credentials has been removed, but not the ad itself which employs the same old  script, same Best-Buy-like locale and same rationale for trying to bash Apple. Good luck!

It looks like someone at Microsoft has been reading the blogsphere; hence the dropping of Microsoft Lauren. But as usual, the genii in Redmond are bull-headedly refusing to ditch the whole campaign. This kind of reminds us of how Microsoft holds onto flawed products …. like the Zune for example: A wanna-be iPod Killer that has become the butt of late night jokes. Some things will never change.