Thursday, August 21, 2008

MUXTAPE R.I.P. 2008-2008

Anyone who's come within a mouse length of me and a computer in the last four or five months has heard me proselytize the miracle of Muxtape. The icon to the left of your screen, which used to link you to my muxtape, now leads you to the image on the right.

For the uninitiated, was a free website that allowed users to upload 12 of their favorite MP3s at any one time to create your own personal soundtracks and share them with the world wide web. Likewise, any mux-maker could stream in other mixes and listen to their hearts content, without actually owning anyone else's music. Unless of course you clicked the "Buy MP3" link located beneath every track on every muxtape, which led you to, bringing the necessary evil into the mux and allowing for the song's purchase.

The real beauty of this site wasn't all the obscure music I discovered. It wasn't all the muxtapes I tagged as my favorites or the like-minded sensibilities I found through that feature. It wasn't even the four users who became fans of my muxtape, although I checked frequently, always hoping that number would go up.

No, the real beauty was its simplicity. From the looks of it, you'd never know there was corporate involvement. Large, graphic song titles and the color of your mux label. That's all there was. It was
Internet Bauhaus .

Now of course, the RIAA has put an end to all this harmless fun that could actually boost record sales for artists who might otherwise go undiscovered. And why not? Users found a way to share music legally, so the powers that be just went ahead and made it illegal.

I really hate people a lot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cell phones cause cancer

There. I said it.

It may not be true. There is no conclusive evidence to support the claim. But after what I went through today at the Sprint store, I hope they all suffer financial ruin (I would wish cancer on the these people, but if they all got it, then I'd be worried it really is the phone and then I'd have to stop using them and my life would become more complicated). So if any of you four readers happen to be Sprint customers and decide to opt out of your contracts, that would be great.

I'm not a gadget guy and I'm super cheap. So when I signed up for my most recent two year Sprint rectal (I've been on the receiving end of Sprint's fist for the last five years), I took the cheapest possible phone with the plan - the free one. They asked me if I wanted the seven dollar per month insurance on my free phone, to which I responded, "Insurance? The phone was free."

I've had this free phone for less than a year. This morning, on my way into work, I received the message, "Looking for Service" accompanied by a spinning satellite dish, but my service was never found.

I called Sprint, who, after 20 minutes of being on hold, instructed me to remove the battery and reinsert it. I did as they said. The message then changed to "Offline Mode." That's when I was informed that the phone had been rendered inoperable and I would have to visit a store. And then the lady had the gall to ask if there was anything else she could help me with. Well, my foot feels pretty good today, but maybe you could go ahead and arrange to have a city bus run over it so it no longer works, either.

I go into the store, which is never conveniently located near my office even though there are three clustered in a one block radius near my home, and I explained the problem. The employee removed my battery cover and noticed a big, fresh droplet of water sitting on the battery. "Uh-oh" he said. "Looks like water damage. You don't have insurance on ths phone, do you?" Nope. He smiled his big fat fucking corporate smile and continued, "we can take this in the back and see if the motherboard is corroded from water damage, but if so, there's nothing we can do. You just have to buy a new phone. I'll tell you what, though - with the new phone, I'll let you get the insurance if you want it. And if there is no water damage, we'll just replace the phone but you'll have to pay us $35 for opening it up and looking at the device because you don't currently have insurance."

Thanks sport. You'll let me replace my free phone for $35. And you'll even tack on $7 a month for insurance. Because that's the kind of guy you are. Well aren't I the fucking luckiest guy on earth then. How about I just buy that shiny new phone over there. The one with the $50 sign over it.

"Oh, ummm" he replied with that tone of me being totally shit out of luck. "That phone is actually $250. It's only $50 if you've had your current phone for 22 months or if you sign up for a whole new contract."

I started to get a little annoyed by this. He sensed my disappointment and tried making me feel better by asking me if I knew how much Sprint pays for those phones. Because they're way more than $50. I asked him if he understood why Sprint would do something like that - pay more for a phone and lose money on what they charge me. He responded, "because we want your monthly contract."


I then went on to explain that Sprint has gotten 5 years of monthly payments out of me already and I will absolutely end it at that if I couldn't have those stipulations on the $50 phone waived. He gave me all the corporate jargon to explain why that couldn't work, at which point I told him to quit acting like a fucking shill and listen to how ludicrous this all is. He was incapable of that until I told him to end my absurd contract, which I would gladly pay to be freed of. Now I know the other companies are no better, but he doesn't know I know that and that seemed to help things move along.

My phone came back from the repair guys and I was told there was no water damage, so I could get my free phone replaced with one of equal or even crappier value. I just needed to pay the $35 fee for opening the phone up. And I'd get my new one in just 24-48 hours.

Can anyone recommend a better rectal?