[STD] This Is The Beginning

Pirate on computer

Welcome guys to the very first ever STD (Savvy Tech Dude/Dudette) post. I’m still working with logistics as to how I want to organize this, and this probably won’t become a weekly thing, just a random thing as life goes on. The STD story is my attempt to share some insight into some of my practices, as well as others as to how they are using technology to make their life better, saving money, or perhaps bettering the environment.

With topics so broad, it be interesting how varied these stories will go. As time goes along, I’m asking for people to contribute, or if you want to be interviewed (I’ll protect your identity), then we can dig deeper. I am entertaining the idea of posting this concept to other forums where techies live, and see if I can even get a larger response. If it works out right, this will become a magnificent concept.

Without further ado, here is the first story – a background of Versatile1 and his journey with technology:


There is no doubt that the advent of computers have spawned a realm of underground activity, the most profound that has hit mainstream population is casual piracy. Don’t deny it, I’m sure most households out there engaged in it without them realizing it. Do you remember the audio cassette tapes? Did you try to tape music from the radio, or maybe from CDs that you borrowed?

How about copying VHS movies from one VCR to the other? I was one of those guys who engaged in this back in the day. In my house, we had at least 2 VCRs, so it made sense to find a good movie at the library or blockbuster or one of our friends and just copy the movie. Yes, it took about 2 hours to do it, but at least I could fit 3 VHS movies onto one VHS cassette if I used EP mode.

VHS Tape

Eventually DVDs came, and you couldn’t copy those straight off the bat because they have DVD encryption on it. Well, now there are programs that take off that DVD encryption so you can rip the movie to your hard drive and copy it or encode it to .AVI file for example. Now it is so easy to copy DVDs and encode them to .AVI files.

Now I don’t recommend this as it is dishonest, but there are people out there who have an account at Netflix, Blockbuster, Family Video, or your favorite video store and all they do is rent movies and copy them. Are you surprised? Heck, there might be some teenager kid in your neighborhood who does the same thing, or the equivalent by downloading movies and archiving them in some secret hard drive or burn them to some DVD binders.


I assure you, piracy is found everywhere whether you realize it or not. Are you a parent of some high school kids? I am sure these high school kids have MP3 Players, and you think the music they put on their iPod is legit? I’m sure at least 90% of the music they are listening to it was illegally obtained. Heck, maybe the parents are doing it to. What I’m saying is even the nicest people are casually engaged in piracy because they believe its OK.

This single song is great, the rest of the album sucks, so buy it? Or it could be the other way. I download the album and listen to it. Album is great so I buy it. Worst case scenario: I download the album, it sounds great and I”ll keep it without buying the album. There are others who are just media pack mules and just download anything because they can. Are you one of these people? You are saving a buck, but it is the artists that lose is the saying.

I’m not here to say what is wrong or right. What I am saying is there are some underground practices that people are involving themselves under the impression nothing wrong will happen. Of course, you hear stories of college students now getting sued by the RIAA for downloading music, but now more and more of the college scene are going underground. They are starting to trade music internally on the school network, a place where the RIAA cannot get into.

There is so much left I want to talk about. I didn’t even dive into the subject of P2P, or torrents yet. Maybe I’ll let leave that for the next story.

Quick summary:

  • Piracy has always been around since technology became affordable for consumers.
  • People engage in casual piracy because it is convenient, and it saves them money. Individuals are starting to become tech savvy.
  • VHS piracy has always been around, and now DVD copying is the new rage.
  • The newest trend is downloading of music/movies from online or ripping them from the retail shop or friends. Obviously, this is wrong in terms of copyrights, but as a home user, who cares? This is the mentality that many people hold, and it will never stop.
  • RIAA is evil, and people are starting to wise up and getting their music in a smarter way.

Was this story helpful? Next time, I will dive a bit into how people are getting smarter in their technological means, and perhaps give you the reader insight into how you can do the same thing. Please leave a comment, or I’m under the belief no one cares enough about the STD story. Thanks!


Wonder RIAA Picture: http://www.shedreamsindigital.net
Blockbuster picture: http://hoboken411.com
VHS: http://www.chromaservices.ca
Pirate Picture: http://www.cnn.com

Posted on April 26, 2008, in Advice, STD Story and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Piracy has less of a detrimental effect on the artist than the RIAA would have you believe. It is THEY who lose out more, not the artist. In fact, while the artist may not gain as much from album sales, they do gain way more popularity and become more well known. If they then become popular enough, regardless of album sales, they’ll make money from concerts and merchandise sales.

    The RIAA, however, loses control of the music once it starts being traded illegally. I don’t know if they lose money, although I’d imagine they do, and they wouldn’t have all the concerts and merchandise to fall back on. So they are the ones who stand to lose from piracy, NOT the artist. Artists have been managing fine with just your average piracy around, and in fact many endorse bootleg because of the benefits it brings, MOST IMPORTANTLY of which is the fact that they build up a rapport with the fans and in fact probably gain some amount of control over it by gaining the fans’ trust.

    In conclusion, the RIAA suck.

  2. I read in the news the other day that the RIAA was pissed that last years sales was 10 billion dollars instead of 15 billion dollars the year before.

    Oh give me a break. And now they are thinking of adding a music tax to ISP consumer bills ($5) so you can download all the music you want for free (supposedly). We’ll see. RIAA does suck.

  3. Bravo , Bravo !!!! there it is there in a nutshell .Cant wait for your next post…

  4. Thanks. Is Tony a bot or not? This is the more interesting question.

  5. i must say. V1 just got owned. by a trackback😀

  6. How dare you call me a bot ,I’ve been called a lot of things in my 42 years BUT a BOT I have NOT…….Little humor there ….
    Anyways I truly enjoyed your STD The beginning ,I grew up knowing exactly what are talking about in the post ,Because I lived it and still am living it ,There is definitely more to be said about this subject .I personally do not have the skills to write properly ,punctuality and grammar a must .But I will give it my best to give any point of views I may have on the subject wither it be bad or good .Hows that for “NOT BOT”

  7. I can simply say that Tony has just ripped V1 a new asshole.

    In all honestly, thanks for the comment. Being the author I am, I have seen a wide assortment of comments come through here, and sometimes it is hard to detect bot from not-bot.

    I’m glad that we are in agreement that you are real, so I’ll let it to that. The STD stories will continue, and I’ll share insight as to what has become of the tech world for the average joe. Thanks, you are the ones that keep me going.

  8. finally. I have met someone who reads the top and new threads.
    to be honest, its actually the second person.

    I really would like to know how many ppl visit on a regular basis

  9. Tony the notbot

    I myself can’t wait to see what you guys and gals have instore for me from day to day .I assuming there are women here somewere .

    Awsome site ,I’am truely glad i found it!!!!!!!
    The NotBOT

  10. Thanks Tony!
    I’m getting more excited about the blog now, as I now found we have dedicated viewers.

    However, we don’t have any women writing here… yet. No one has volunteered ><


  11. Trust me, I have asked a female writer or two to join us, but none of them felt they had what it took to be a savvy contributor, which is a shame.

    However, I can contest that we do have female viewers. The TiT update comes across as funny title (yea, I wonder why), and I have gotten crap from women viewers on the Underground attempt to unleash insight into the underground world of adult erotica.

    Whether that is good or not, that is not for me to decide, but at least it’s bringing in people, right?
    I am excited to write the next STD story, because I know there is interest in it. How did Tony find us? This could be our doorway into a wider audience.

  12. Thanks for including to my image, Slave to the RIAA. Kindly link to the source in your article since you are hotlinking the image – http://www.shedreamsindigital.net

    Thank you.

  13. No problem. Request noted.

  14. Sorry that would be me ,

    I would be the HOTlinker ,My fault !! I love the picture
    As far as the finding the website ,I dont exactly recall I think I just ran across it from a link .Sorry I wish I had this big fantasitic story to tell you about me , “JUST seeing it ” on my browser one day .With bright red fireworks shooting out of my monitor .Saying ,”WELCOME TO THE UNDERGROUND ” ,BUT that didn’t happen sorry .

    Dont worry I will spread the word as much as possible ,When I get the chance !!!I do believe that!!!!!

    Sitting waiting to sail out the Harbor !!!!We have many stops Captain …Hint Hint🙂

  15. No problem, glad to know you like it and kinda cool to know this image is meme’ing it’s way across the www.

    BTW, the domain name in the image URL is generally a good indicator of where it comes from.

  16. notice something about Stacy Reed’s attitude here… (no offense intended in the following example!)

    Basically, you “pirated” the image, and in a way that actually costs Stacy Reed something… bandwidth costs money, eh.

    Instead of threats or lawsuits or even a bad attitude, there was a request to just give credit where it was due.

    Compare this to the RIAA’s situation, downloading MP3’s don’t actually cost the musicians anything directly… meaning that the actual pieces of plastic we call CDs aren’t being stolen… just the data and they aren’t footing the bandwidth bill either.

    I am sure that Stacy Reed is not making billions of dollars a year, but she is getting something out of her presence online… what is she getting for the act of “piracy”? (again, I am just making an example, not calling names.)

    props and potentially traffic.

    what do the musicians get when their stuff hits every kid’s iPod?

    props and potentially revenue!

    While the RIAA and certain over the hill bands do not like file sharing, musicians with a clue love it! It gets their work out to a wider audience and more people potentially buy their stuff.

    This isn’t just a theory, BTW, this is provable with hard sales figures.

    On a side note, a way to increase comments and make things better for your audience would be to add a plugin that allows subscription to comments… I might partake in a discussion here on this if I remember to check back… a notice in my mailbox that there was a reply would help me to remember.😉

    Oh, and looks like you found a way to get a female’s comments by hot linking her stuff.😉

  17. Very good point you made with the picture ,I guess i did try and pirate it!!! not for commercial gain ,The picture isnt that good .No offense Stacy .Its yours and nobody will take it from you.The fact that iam a hotlinker must be the pirate in me .If I really happened to be one….but of course Im not one…Arrrrrgh maaaaattteyy

  18. Plug-in is nice, but do you really want your inbox full of notifications? I wouldn’t, but maybe you would.😛

    In all honesty, I hotlinked the picture because it looked awesome and hotlinking is easier than downloading the picture, uploading it somewhere, and hotlink it.

    This time I got caught by Stacy (which is OK, I don’t mind giving her props), but what do you do about all the other people who are leeching pictures like this, uploading to their own FTP space to display to the world for their own benefit? How would Stacy Reed know? Well, she wouldn’t.

    What if I had just “taken” her picture and hosted it on my own space? Now she wouldn’t be charged for bandwidth, but at the same time she wouldn’t know the picture is gone. If you really want to drive traffic and have a piece of mind, people start putting watermark images on their pictures with the URL. It is the only way to combat hotlinking issues.

    (OMG, I had my own revelation. Expect a STD story talking about my own experience with my pictures being hotlinked without my authority that occured in the past.)

  19. Well guys, this thread has me hooked.

    In the past, we had some guy steal our entire post including pictures and post it on a forums which, luckily, V1 frequents. It’s a ps2 forums, and V1 pwned that guy pretty hard.

    Power, interesting way to link the RIAA and pic hotlinking together. I find it interesting how the RIAA is fight people for themselves… and not really the musicians, who get $$ and fame from popularity and shows

  20. I agree with you watermark the picture! I am an artist somewhat ,If i were to create something I “DID” not want people to capitalize on it in any shape or form .I would do my dammnest to protect it .Whatever i was to do to that picture to make that happen.Watermark ,skidmark ,ETC .I would do it.I would expect someone to take a copy of it somewere somehow .Arn’t you to know this going in ,To the whole http://www.thing or expect that type of stuff to happen.Glad to hear I wasnt the one Hotlinking .You went and got us all in trouble .OK enough of that snickerdoodle!!!!

  21. I don’t know why my comment isn’t showing up. I’ve tried posting it for 2 days now.

    Versatile1, you said:

    “This time I got caught by Stacy (which is OK, I don’t mind giving her props), but what do you do about all the other people who are leeching pictures like this, uploading to their own FTP space to display to the world for their own benefit? How would Stacy Reed know? Well, she wouldn’t.”

    thing is, I don’t mind people using my images, as long as they host them on their own server so I’m not dealing with the bandwidth issues. I understand that by my posting the images on the Internet, they will be used by others and downloaded, added to collections, used in blog posts, etc. That’s why I rarely post print sized images of my artwork online.

    However, it’s not difficult to find out who is hotlinking – it’s right there in my stats. The only thing I ask is if you are going to link to the image on my domain, please be cool enough to give cred where cred is due (thanks for the link btw). If not, download it and pay for the bandwidth yourself, at that point, I don’t care what the image is used for. It was originally a political statement that was later published as a book cover for “Torture the Artist” by Joey Grobel. This image has been around the block a few times🙂

    I usually do add my watermark to all the images I post on my site. This one must have slipped through the cracks as it is an older piece. However, you may have noticed the file name has it’s own bit of important data – the title, my name, the domain name, etc.


    How anyone could miss that when they are pasting the link, I’ll never know, but since implementing that file naming system, the hotlinking (especially by myspace users) has dramatically dropped.

  22. The reason your comment has not shown up instantly is because it was in my spam filter.

    No fear though, I check it almost every single day, so your comment will come up, just don’t keep posting the same comment over and over future viewers.

    I totally agree with you. Given the circumstances, I will host the picture remotely, so that way you don’t have to pay for the bandwidth, and the link will still remain.

  23. Thank you for good information~~*

    Please comeback to visit my blog too : http://tape-drives.blogspot.com/

    I’m sorry , If you think this is spam. but may i thank you again.


  1. Pingback: [TiT] That’s It Tuesday - Issue 30 « Welcome to the Underground

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