Communication; Version 2019

I think I come back to this rant every year. Every year I do something and slowly forget about it. Then the next year, the cycle repeats. I’m still looking for a solution. Maybe I’ll start over this rant next year if I don’t find a solution. Until then, I’ll put my thoughts out there, anyone who is reading.

This is about internet monopoly. Giant corporations that has taken our life hostage. Corporations that don’t pay us any money, but they own our lives. Our memories. Our identities. Our business. And there is nothing we can’t do anything about it. Therefore, my rant. 

I don’t even have to name these companies anymore. Had it been 3 years earlier. I might need to. But now… now you guys know. You’ll either harmonize with me and let out a sigh. Or keep scrolling. Whichever you choose, we are powerless.

Last month, my wife’s Facebook account was frozen. Why was it frozen? That is for another time. The day it was frozen she tried to do whatever she could. Checking her email for some kind of notice. Trying to reset password. Submitting govt. Issued ID to Facebook which has a spooky privacy policy attached to it. Despite all her effort, the account was still frozen. Whom is she going to complain to? The whole process is automated. There is no customer service phone number. 

“OK. So what? It’s just Facebook. Just open another account” you may say. We could. Our friends are family would be notified. A fresh page. Fresh. Your old memories erased. It is there. Just not available to you. The way the world works right now, if you never never posted on Facebook about it, it never happened. 

Fortunately, we found out a way. Submitted scans of our passport. And a selfie of my wife with the passport visible in her hand. She got her account back. She got her memories back. She got her identity back. Only to be governed by an organization. Not a government. But an organization. We are at the mercy of Facebook. 

I have 7 different apps on my phone. All to make calls and chat with my friends. There is only 1 which is used everyday. Facebook. For some reason, nobody I know uses something different. I uninstalled messenger from my phone last year. I did not post on Facebook of my action! Still I received complaints. why am I not available? So I reinstalled it. 

I prefer email over phone calls. For that too, I am relying on a company I have no financial transaction with. No agreement between us. Should I be banned from google servers, I’ll have no identities left. Not even Facebook. I’ll be erased from the internet. 

I tried to find for options. I tried to find a way out. I’m still trying. If you found the way before me, help me. Drag me out of this house of cards.



BlockBuster Might Make a Comeback

Not really physically as a brick and mortar store though. That would be absurd. Even my laptop has no optical disc bay. Hear me out,

When Netflix launched, it was this beautiful dream streaming service. Nobody had time for cable. Somebody might be working a late night shift on a Saturday. I made perfect sense pay $X to netflix instead of subscribing to cable. I’m more than happy to pay $20 a month for a streaming service which has many of my favorite shows. Since a single person cannot watch all the shows on the platform, I’d imagine it is profitable for the company. Just upload a show once, make sure you have the bandwidth to stream to all your customers and everybody stays happy. According to this article, netflix makes $43 million dollar per month. Not per year, per MONTH. This is all from a single customer paying $15 a month. I don’t know if the prices are revised this year or how much profit Netflix make this year. I see this as a win-win. I pay a little money to stream my favorite show during dinner, no ads. Netflix makes the profit. 

How about now? In September 2019? By now you should have heard about the Sony Vs Marvel fight over distribution right over Spiderman. These new Spiderman movies were great. I love Tom Holland as Spiderman. Much better and enjoyable to me when compared to Toby’s Spiderman. And now, good stuff is coming to an end it seems. All because companies want more profit. Greed. Well too bad. If Marvel has nothing to do with the next Spiderman, then I’ll probably not watch the next Spiderman. You can’t have my money.

Same greed is taking over the other media producers. They don’t want to share profit with Netflix or any other third party streaming platform. Companies are offering their own streaming service now. NBC just announced their streaming service. Then there is Disney

LOOK, guys. I love watching TV. I like wasting my time on your shows, rather than doing something productive on weekends. In the early days of the internet, contents were just available on the net. You didn’t have to look for it. Just download episode of your favorite show overnight. Then services like Netflix came along and everything was just better. No risk of downloading virus. Shows would stream much faster thanks to local servers. Now, however, things are looking bleak. You go to youtube, ads are getting longer and more frequent (just like the cable TV was). You go to instagram, 1 out of 3 post is an ad. (At Least in my case.) Everyone is tracking you on the web, selling your personal data. Things you discussed with your friend on messenger app, suddenly popping up as ad on facebook. Eventually, everyone will get tired. Tired of the ads. Tired of privacy breach. 

Another point I always complain about, in 2019, you don’t actually own anything. Your movies, books, and music are stored on your amazon cloud. The moment you go to a different country, your digital library is lost. Because Amazon will not give you access to media files unless you are in the same country as you originally purchased. If you go to a country where there is no WiFi, you cannot listen to your offline music. You’ll be asked to log in again to verify your ownership. But you downloaded those music in the first place because you knew there would be no internet in your vacation resort. For a guy like me, I’m going to leave Japan once my work here is done. I’m pretty sure, i’m going to lose my digital library once I leave Japan. What about my money? Will they refund? I think not. Same goes to sony playstation. Once you change your country, you need to register a new account to play new games. When you do that, you cannot transfer your achievements from your previous account. So you have to start all your games from the very beginning. That sucks. 

I really hope, in future, I can just purchase a media content without being annoyed. Share with my friends; maybe. Maybe pass on my digital library to my offspring. If I’m done playing a video game, sell it to my friend. Not pseudo ownership, real ownership. 

I’m really looking for an alternative. I hope somebody out there is looking for it too.