Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

There were a few posts that dominated the comments this week, with the attempts by Charter's CEO to blame Netflix for all its problems delivering all our comments on the insightful side. In first place, it's an extremely long and thorough anonymous comment discussing many things more deserving of the cable industry's focus:

"Cable providers could easily combat streaming video competition by lowering rates and offering more flexible channel bundles"

Agreed, and to add other things that they ought to do (but almost certainly won't):

  • Modernize the set-top-box mess. Currently, they fight very hard to ensure that your set-top-box is just barely adequate. Some of these are problems with the hardware they choose to use. Some are problems with the software they run. Some are problems with how the provider serves the cable box. All are irritating to the user, regardless of cause.
    • It's expensive for what you get.
    • It's power-hungry / runs hot for what you get.
    • It reboots very slowly. I've seen 10+ minutes from connecting wall power to when the box is ready to serve. Doubtless some of this is waiting to download something from the provider, rather than pure internal problems.
    • It hangs (requiring a reboot) in reaction to external events (rare, but still disruptive when they happen) such as provider maintenance temporarily interrupting service.
    • It hangs in a way that isn't obvious until you try to watch content through it. Glancing at the front-panel clock LED isn't enough to be sure it's in good order. Combine this with the pathetically slow reboots, and you need to pre-check its viability well before the start of anything you want to access with it.
    • Major functionality can only be driven through using the remote to navigate the on-screen overlay (so you can't configure a PVR to autonomously record a show through the "On Demand" offering).
    • The on-screen overlay is itself slow and cumbersome to use, even by hand.
    • Minor functionality, such as anti-idle, is also driven purely through on-screen overlays. It's unnecessarily complicated to have a PVR perform unattended recording of a long piece of content (usually movies, but sometimes a block of several back-to-back shows on the same channel). Partway through the content, the PVR will begin inserting an on-screen "Are you there? We want to shutdown now." prompt. The PVR faithfully records this prompt, but has no idea it's there, and doesn't answer yes. You lose the latter part of the recording. I understand the reason they want not to stream to an unattended device. I disagree with the implementation that makes it so inconvenient for a PVR to keep the set-top-box going.
    • For a really radical approach, revert to practice of a few years ago when set-top-boxes were not required to view live streams, but live streams could instead be tuned and viewed directly on a television or PVR.
  • Clean up the "On Demand" offering. Clearly document in an easy-to-find place, for every channel in your subscription package:
    • Whether content from the channel is ever published through On Demand
    • If it is published, what are its terms (some of these may vary per-show, depending on licensing; each show with unique terms would need its own block):
      • How many days delay between live airing and appearance in On Demand?
      • How many days is it available through On Demand before it is removed?
      • On what date the contract providing access to this content will expire, since the cable provider might be forced by contractual issues to change the above terms after that date.
  • Provide machine-readable scheduling data direct to the customer, updated on a best effort basis when special events interfere (breaking news, sports programs running long, etc.). This would require some collaboration with the networks, but the networks already sell this data to third-parties, so making it available to customers is just a distribution problem. Currently, this data has to be fetched through third-party Internet sites that, while surprisingly effective, usually don't handle well when the provider changes the schedule within a day of the program in question. Worse, this data is often only approximately accurate. Some channels are very bad about moving the first or last 30-90 seconds of a program across the half-hour/whole-hour boundary, so if you don't start recording early and end recording late, you lose part of the program you tried to record. Combine a network that runs late with another network that starts early and you get a scheduling conflict (assuming you know to adjust your times, rather than recording for the published times and discovering later that you lost the ending). Some of this is on the networks, not on the cable providers (in those increasingly rare cases where the cable provider doesn't own the network), but decisions by the cable providers make it unnecessarily difficult for customers to compensate for networks getting this wrong.

This list deliberately avoids anything that involves them actually investing in infrastructure that they should have upgraded a decade (or more) ago, because shots there are just too easy.

In second place, we've got aerinai with some oversimplified but still telling math:

Charter has 30 million customers. Dude made $98.6 million in a year... That is quite literally $3 dollars PER CUSTOMER just for this dude's salary! This is not the entire support staff keeping the internet working, the customer support staff, the salesmen... That is $3 for one guy... Charter, your next below-the-line-fee can be a $0.25 CEO tax... now THAT is transparecy!

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got another response from Jason, offering a key takeaway:

Leaving aside the argument about whether the reason you're losing customers matters, the part I found most interesting was this:

And because of password sharing and multiple-stream products … You have 35 million one-person households in the U.S. The multiscreen products sold to those households also [allows?] them to purchase one product and share it with multiple users.

Is the problem he's lamenting here that every single pair of eyes (adult, child, visiting friend, pet cat, etc.) watching video "products" isn't paying for their own subscription, and should have to be in order to watch? Because it sure sounds like it.

I'm sure the cable TV industry, along with many others, would love to boil things down to a permanent pay-per-view model. (Everyone pays each time they open a book, everyone pays each time they watch an old rerun, everyone pays each time they crank up a song...) But aside from a few specific situations (e.g., theater tickets) that kind of wishful thinking just doesn't reflect reality.

And next, a comment from Vidiot responding specifically to the idea that Netflix doesn't have "control over the content":

The providers' content is perfectly controlled, just the way they want it... 3, 4 or 5 streams per account. And it's working really well. Stop whining, and start innovating.

Over on the funny side, both our winning comments came in response to the DOJ's subpoena of Twitter about Popehat and others, over a smiley emoji tweet. Roger Strong was wry to say the least:

The obvious explanation for issuing that Twitter user data subpoena is that someone at the DOJ thinks that tweeting a smiley emoji at others indicates conspiracy or collaboration. I expect they'll invoke RICO.

That one of those users is Ken White is required by narrative convention.

In second place, it's an anonymous commenter with some thoughts on the situation:

It's a good thing it was only a smiling emoji, a winking face may have had him killed.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with another nod to Roger Strong for his other comment on the same post, responding to Faircom's rebranding of its 'Standard Encryption' as 'Data Camouflage':

Denuvo should rebrand its DRM as "Data Speedbump."

And since Roger was all over the funny leaderboards this week, he gets one final editor's choice for his comment on our post about Dennis Prager's lawsuit against YouTube, simply for coining (I think?) an excellent term for people with a particular unimpressive approach to their faith:

Prager's followers are EULA Christians. Folks for whom the Bible is like a software license. Not to be read or understood. Just assume that you know what it means, scroll down to the bottom, and click "I Agree."

That's all for this week, folks!


Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:23pm

    Alas, I can't take credit for "EULA Christians." The term has been around for at least five years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    sehlat (profile), 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:30pm

    Fill in the Blank

    Eula _____________

    Folks for whom the tenets of their religion are like a software license. Not to be read or understood. Just assume that you know what it means, scroll down to the bottom, and click "I Agree."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:34pm

    ---Prager's followers are EULA Christians. Folks for whom the Bible is like a software license. Not to be read or understood. Just assume that you know what it means, scroll down to the bottom, and click "I Agree."---


    People associating themselves with groups and ethos without knowing any better is a basic human trait. Can't you at least "pretend" to not be overtly bigoted? But then again, hypocrisy is one of the tools of TD's trade.

    We want to be all inclusive... well except for that group, the other group, this group over here, and o yea... especially "those guys"... we should not treat those humans like they are human at all.

    The bill, always comes due.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    It's okay Roger, you are an EULA Idiot, so you can say you understand them and it will not be a lie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    See...? Our favorite bearer of false witness is already tired of the label.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    "Why won't you be tolerant of my intolerance!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 2:05pm

    "Cable providers could easily combat streaming video competition by lowering rates and offering more flexible channel bundles"

    That might be a temporary fix that keeps existing subscribers, and regains some of the older subscribers. However there is the second advantage of streaming, which is watch when you want, rather than on someone else's schedule.

    It is this second advantage of streaming that will kill the cable industry, unless they convert over to streaming. Except for live events, why would anybody organize their social life around a companies programing schedule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    Still mad you didn’t make insightful eh? The jealousy is positively smouldering in your post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2017 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    There is nothing insightful to be found in the consumption of paint chips. It's a shame he won't understand it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Oct 2017 @ 6:56pm

    Re:

    Exactly so. Once people get used to 'what you want, when you want it' that streaming offers 'what's available, only when it's available' is a huge drop in quality, such that getting people to switch back is going to be incredibly difficult.

    It's possible that they've realized this, figured that they can't make the switch and still enjoy the profits they've enjoyed thus far and have decided to instead bleed dry their current customers as much as they can before they crash and burn. This would be short-sighted and stupid sure, but at least it would make more sense then the willfully blind, 'nothing's changed, we still have a stranglehold on entertainment' mindset that they seem to have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Bergman (profile), 29 Oct 2017 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    Out of curiosity AC, how exactly does the fact people join groups without understanding what they're signing up for in any way make noticing that people do it an act of bigotry?

    Speaking of things people do/say without understanding, I think you might need to look up the meaning of the word bigot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2017 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re:

    No Net Neutrality and YouTube is bundled with their top tier cable package, or at least they can charge their customers the same amount for its use.

    The fight over net neutrality has little to do with network management, and a lot to do with protecting the cable business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Richard (profile), 30 Oct 2017 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re:

    Out of curiosity AC, how exactly does the fact people join groups without understanding what they're signing up for in any way make noticing that people do it an act of bigotry?

    It is bigotry (or at least hypocrisy) when you point it out in respect of some groups and not others. Especially when you ignore the fact that you are doing it yourself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2017 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It looks to me like the point went over both your heads.

    I tend to agree with the idea that anyone calling someone a bigot is a bigot themselves, but then again... a bigot can indeed call another person a bigot with complete accuracy and without being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is defined as...

    "the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense."

    So in context, a person can indeed be a bigot without being a hypocrite. Though it is much more difficult for a person to be a hypocrite without being a bigot. If you espouse tolerance as TD seems to advance the notion of in many of their articles including the Redskins trademark issue but then highlight a post disparaging a group of people... well that definitely fits both bigotry and hypocrisy according to the definitive terms as they are defined.

    I am willing to bet that Roger would never had made that post if it disparaged a minority group in the exact same way and I bet TD would not even dream of highlighting that same post either.

    I understand that it has always been open season on the Christians, but based on what I have seen around here, there is definitely certain biases given a pass while others are shunned.

    What I think is funny is that you probably still don't understand why Christians probably don't like you. Ever think of yourselves as being bullies?

    I have found that most people, in their pursuits to make the world a "better place", wind up just making it worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2017 @ 9:14am

    "Charter, your next below-the-line-fee can be a $0.25 CEO tax... now THAT is transparecy!"
    It's not a tax it's a fee, or more honestly monetary rape.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 30 Oct 2017 @ 9:16am

    Bigotry posing as humor.

    It would be more funny if Xians were the only fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, federalists, or libertarians.

    The offended class would eat you alive for that if you changed the names.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Thad, 30 Oct 2017 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is bigotry (or at least hypocrisy) when you point it out in respect of some groups and not others.

    No it isn't. Focus does not imply exclusion.

    The idea that I can only point out that a group adheres to an ideology without understanding it if I also produce a list of every single other group that does the same thing is absurd. Hell, it's basically the definition of Whataboutism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Oct 2017 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am willing to bet that Roger would never had made that post if it disparaged a minority group in the exact same way and I bet TD would not even dream of highlighting that same post either.

    I understand that it has always been open season on the Christians...

    That's a sleazy lie and you know it.

    I have no problem criticizing Muslim extremists for example. While recognizing that their beliefs are at odds with Islam. And that's what I'm doing with "EULA Christians." The whole point is that they - the alt-right, much of the religious right - are AT ODDS with Christianity. It's as though Jesus's teachings are forbidden knowledge.

    Which is how you get "Christian" leaders like Prager and the rest of the religious right extolling the "Christian" virtues of... Donald Trump.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2017 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That's a sleazy lie and you know it."

    "I have no problem criticizing Muslim extremists for example."

    The fact that you felt the need to separate "Muslims" from "Muslim Extremists" is all that is necessary to prove I am not lying.

    Every religion, culture, group, or ideology contains extremists.

    "rest of the religious right extolling the "Christian" virtues of... Donald Trump."

    Not all Christians believe this even those on the "religious right" and I know many that did not vote for Trump. You seem to be able to place all Christians and their many denominations into a single bag "for political expediency" while at least making room for two different types of Muslims, which there are multiple denomination of as well.

    I believe you know the "exact" reason why you felt the need to lead any discussion about criticism of Islam with the "extremists" qualifier without making one for Christians.

    As someone who has criticized a lot of Christians AND a lot of Muslims I can clearly state that I get a lot more folks defending the Muslims compared to those defending the Christians. Sure these are just my observations and sure it could be possible I just keep finding the few places on the internet that seem to be this ways but so far the rate is 100%. Here is a good example... if Barak Obama had said "they cling to the guns and religion" about Muslims...

    And since I do not hang out at any Christian sites perhaps that is why I don't see much support for them when I trash talk them.

    As a person that does not serve any political interests I can confirm something that is a fundamental basic truth about humans. We all have a dirty nasty set of double standards we all follow.

    Christians heavily prefer other Christians.
    Muslims heavily prefer other Muslims.
    Jews heavily prefer other Jews.
    And the people of each political party heavily prefers those of the same as well, while readily disparaging the others. Are there exceptions? Sure, but not enough to make a difference from the looks of things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Oct 2017 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that you felt the need to separate "Muslims" from "Muslim Extremists" is all that is necessary to prove I am not lying.

    So you don't separate the IRA bombings from the rest of Christianity? How about the Sabra and Shatila massacre? The Holocaust and various 20th century pogroms even after WWII? KKK lynchings which commonly invoked Christianity as justification?

    You just proved something, but it's not what you think.

    You seem to be able to place all Christians and their many denominations into a single bag "for political expediency"

    YOU insist on doing that with one religion. See above. I am doing no such thing.

    My whole point is to differentiate your crowd from, well, those with Christian values. That's what you're upset about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2017 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is that what you mean with all your exploits you referenced last week with Rosey Palmer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you don't separate the IRA bombings from the rest of Christianity?

    The IRA were in fact Marxists - not really friendly to Roman catholics at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have no problem criticizing Muslim extremists for example. While recognizing that their beliefs are at odds with Islam.

    Actually you are incorrect there. Their beliefs and practices chime pretty consistently with early Islamic history - and in fact most Islamic history until the 1920's.

    Se for example Mark Twain:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3176/3176-h/3176-h.htm#ch34

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    One branch was Marxist, while the Provisional IRA opposed Marxism. But that was a political side-issue. The main issue was nationalistic and religious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Only to the extent that the same can be said of Christianity. Even setting aside the Holocaust, there were pogroms in Europe up to and even after WWII. Christian Europe occupied and divided up the Muslim and Hindu parts of the world into the 20th century - with behavior that today we'd only associate with the likes of Nazis. Forced religious conversion of the aboriginal population in North America - seizing their children and taking them away to distant church-run schools - went right into the mid-20th century.

    As for your Mark Twain book, in it he's rather critical of Catholics too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Only to the extent that the same can be said of Christianity.

    Well you yourself said:

    " The whole point is that they - the alt-right, much of the religious right - are AT ODDS with Christianity. It's as though Jesus's teachings are forbidden knowledge."

    So you are NOT saying the same about Christianity.

    and therefore this paragraph:

    Even setting aside the Holocaust,... went right into the mid-20th century.

    is actually irrelevant to the point in hand because you have already admitted that none of this appalling behaviour has anything to do with the teachings of Jesus.

    Now you went on to say that the same could be said of Islam.

    It is this which is now at issue. In other words how well ISIS ( and other Islamic terror groups) align with true Islam. Now I gave a quote from Mark Twain - which showed that ISIS style beliefs an actions existed 150 years ago in what was the major Islamic power at the time.

    Now if that doesn't persuade you then we can go to the Quran and other primary sources and top Islamic scholars' interpretations.

    You can see a thorough analysis of this point in the sequence of videos that begins here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mSLSzugDfw

    In short the conclusion is that it is the moderates who are the EULA Muslims and the extremists who have read and understood the authentic texts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Thad, 31 Oct 2017 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your argument seems to be that any Christian who behaves badly is No True Scotsman, but any Muslim who behaves badly is 100% representative of the Muslim faith.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and you misunderstand the point of the "No True Scotsman" concept.

    The point is that a Scotsman is simply someone born in Scotland. Scotland does not have an official code of conduct or belief.

    Christianity and Islam however DO have texts (New Textament and Koran) and primary exemplary lives (Jesus and Mohammed) against which you can judge who is a true Christian or Muslim.

    Any Christian who behaves 100% like Jesus is a true Christian.

    Any Muslim who behaves 100% like Mohammed is a true muslim.

    Now look at a comparison of Jesus and Mohammed and see what I mean:

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/articles/jesus-muhammad.aspx

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Thad, 31 Oct 2017 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and you misunderstand the point of the "No True Scotsman" concept.

    The point is that a Scotsman is simply someone born in Scotland. Scotland does not have an official code of conduct or belief.

    Ah yes, clearly the No True Scotsman fallacy only applies to conditions of birth; how silly of me. Clearly I'm the one who doesn't understand the point of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    clearly the No True Scotsman fallacy only applies to conditions of birth;

    No true Scotsman applies wherever there is no adequate pre-existing definition of the category that resolves the issue in question.

    Thus the "No true Scotsman" fallacy does not apply to the statements:

    No true pacifist would start a nuclear war.

    No true vegetarian would eat a steak.

    No true Celtic supporter would cheer on Rangers in the old firm game.

    No true Scotsman would have been born to Chinese parents in Los Angeles and spent all his life in California.

    Do you get it now???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Richard (profile), 31 Oct 2017 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The idea that I can only point out that a group adheres to an ideology without understanding it if I also produce a list of every single other group that does the same thing is absurd.

    and is also an obvious strawman.

    There is no requirement to point it out in respect of every possible group - but that does not absolve you of bigotry if your focus is unreasonable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Thad, 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:36am

    Re: Bigotry posing as humor.

    The offended class would eat you alive for that if you changed the names.

    Almost as if context is important.

    Weird.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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