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[STD] The Price Is Right At The Right Time


Define STD: STD for The Underground Blog is short for Savvy Tech Dude/Dudette. 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. (Hopefully, I can find a female contributor… :) )

Frequency of Story: When it feels right.

Personal Comment: I really love the STD idea, and with topics so broad, I can go anywhere with this series. The question is, how far down the rabbit hole do you and I want to go? :P

In the meantime, I encourage all forms of interaction. Please sound off in comments, I’d appreciate it. If you have an idea, or want me to consider something different, I will. If you want to spread the word, be my guest. 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. Please consider my offer, thanks!


Near my house Blockbuster was going out of business. About two weeks ago, it shut down for good, but through this experience I wanted to share a heartfelt story that despite a recession going on, there are still individuals willing to spend money on movies and not have to resort to downloading.  It’s called buying something because its such a ridiculous deal.

Read the rest of this entry

[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:

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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.

Blockbuster

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!

Sources:

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