So earlier this week I couldn’t sleep, so I read email and watched the movie Brazil. I didn’t know much about the movie before seeing it, other then it being an Orwellian look at the future and was considered to be a really good movie.

Brazil didn’t disappoint. The special effects were that of an art student film, but visually stunning never the less. What I found most interesting was how many parallels I found in todays world with the film. Clearly there is some strong social/political commentary in Brazil, specifically dealing with how the government’s use of information and of media leads to controlling it’s citizens. Additionally how people are easily manipulated with consumerism.

One of the tightest parallels however in my mind was how the gov’t in Brazil used the “Ministry of Information” and classified laws and regulations to not only keep secrets from people, but used that information against it’s own citizens- often with horrible consequences. This sounds very much like our “do not fly lists” which ordinary citizens can’t view and have no means of clearing their names off of, secret TSA regulations and the federal governments attempt at creating a large databases covering many aspects of law abiding citizens in order to ferret out possible terrorists (interestingly, the exact same reason used in Brazil) is almost too creepy.


Sometimes you just get luckly…

Decided to finally make the jump to HDTV. Lots of reasons really (quality up, prices lower, etc). Did all my research, and narrowed it down to the Sony KDS-55A2000 55″ SXRD rear projection set.

Did a lot of price shopping:

On Amazon: $2,500
On Crutchfield: $3,000
At Magnolia: $2,700
On Best Buy’s website: $3,000
At the Best Buy down the street from my house: $2,000 <--- Woah! Turns out the CompUSA around the corner was going out of business, and had a huge blowout sale on the 55" Sony (but not the 50 or 60") so Best Buy with their price match guarantee was actually selling it BELOW COST. The 55" was actually $500 cheaper then the 50". Sale ended that day. I bought one (duh). Then I saved another $100 by agreeing to upgrade to HD cable with Comcast which I was going to do anyways. So anyone want a Sony 32" Trinitron on the cheap? Nice solid wood entertainment center cabinet too.


Great quote

I have a poorly maintained hobby of keeping track of great quotes. Just recently I read another great quote which I found very timely considering what is going on in the world and the US of late:

As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an
evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil
that they set out to destroy.
                     - Christopher Dawson, The Judgment of Nations


Defective By Design?

Would you believe that some products that you and I buy today are designed to be defective? That is to say that these products could do things which the designers went out of their way to prevent you from doing with them? Why? Since when in a world when companies must out innovate each other to get a competitive edge did companies actually intentially place arbitrary restrictions to limit what users could do with them?

Seems crazy, but that’s exactly what happening with many popular products like iPods, music CD’s and DVD players. Recently, the Free Software Foundation started Defective By Design, a community website dedicated to increasing awareness about how companies are intentionally limiting products in order to harm consumers in order to make Hollywood and large media companies happy. Check it out!