I don’t understand why piracy is still a thing in 2016

I know I’ve talked about this before, but after listening to the song “Exposure Bank” by Sunrise Skater Kids, I’ve been thinking about the issue of piracy again. I just don’t understand how piracy is still seen as an acceptable route to obtain media without paying in 2016. With all of the options available today, getting access to a wide variety of media, be it music, movies, tv shows or even magazines, has become easier than ever. Spotify and Apple Music effectively let you download just about any album you can imagine for the price of a single album a month. Downloading music to your phone using Apple Music, for example, is as easy as searching for an artist and tapping a download button next to an album. It’s much faster and more reliable than pirating music, and it’s safer too. So why do people still pirate?

“We have so many loyal fans, It’s good to know our future rests in their hands, We all do this for the thrill, Real musicians don’t need much to pay the bills”

Napster became a thing when I was in middle school and it truly did revolutionize the way I consumed music. Before Napster I had very limited means of accessing music. My exposure to music came from what was played on the radio, what few CD’s I could buy in a year, and the music shared between friends (occasionally by trading ‘burned’ CD’s). Once I discovered Napster essentially the entire history of music became available at the click of a button. I was able to discover music quicker than ever before, and rather than spending hours at FYE using their listening stations, I could just download a song and if I didn’t like it I’d delete it.

“Buying bad music is the worst, Be sure to download every album, piracy comes first. Once you decide you like it, Get some merchandise and we’ll be supported.”

For a while most of my music was acquired via piracy, however the launch of the iPod and eventually the iTunes store changed everything again. All of a sudden it was easier to purchase a digital album than it was to pirate it. You would be guaranteed a certain level of quality for a price that CD’s could never compete with. The iTunes store was the first step in the right direction in an effort to supersede piracy as the default method of acquiring music, however in recent years another revolution has changed the music industry yet again: streaming.

When I first discovered Spotify’s premium service, which allowed you to download entire albums from just about every artist you could think of in a matter of seconds, my mind was blown. Once again an entire world of music became available to millions of users at the tap of a screen. Spotify Premium became the way I consumed music (outside of the car, in which I still enjoy my SiriusXM radio) until I switched to Apple Music upon its release. Apple Music works much the same as Spotify does, however I like the app better.

Apple Music iTunes

I can’t understand how anyone with any sort of appreciation for music could still pirate in 2016. For just $120 a year you can essentially “own” every piece of music that releases that year and all the years past. Not only that, but you have access you your entire music library on all of your devices, without ever having to transfer any files. It’s so easy it boggles my mind why anyone wouldn’t subscribe to a streaming music service.

$10 a month for all the music your ears desire seems too good to be true, and while it’s great for consumers there is some validity to the fears that the services short change artists. That, combined with the fact that I love vinyl, is the reason I still continue to buy music that I really love. For example, I’ve recently become obsessed with The Strumbellas and immediately ordered their “We Still Move on Dance Floors” album, and pre-ordered their upcoming album “Hope” on vinyl (I also bought both on iTunes, as I REALLY love them and want to support them!)

“Yeah, pats on the back, Yeah, live on the streets, You’re entitled to our music, You did so much to deserve it, Yeah, download a car, Yeah, don’t need to eat.”

There are so many options in other forms of media as well. The app Texture offers a sort of ‘Netflix for magazines” where for either $10 or $15 a month you get access to a wide variety of magazines including back issues. The higher priced plan includes weekly publications such as The New Yorker, TIME and Newsweek.

As for movies and TV, Hulu now offers an add on subscription to Showtime for $9 a month, and HBO and Starz both have streaming services that no longer require cable. You can get access to a wide variety of movies for relatively little money by subscribing to these services. If you want the latest and greatest, I still think the iTunes store offers great prices on movies. I’ve grown my library quite a bit lately just by watching out for sales in which popular movies go on sale for $9.99 or less on iTunes. A lot of new releases sell for $14.99 as well, which is cheaper than DVD’s and Blu Rays ever were. It’s cheaper than ever to watch movies legally, for the sake of the entertainment industry I hope that more people start to choose the high road.

 

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My first month with the Kindle Paperwhite

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I’ve owned the Kindle Paperwhite for just over a month now, the first Kindle I’ve owned since the original. So far I’ve enjoyed just about everything about it. When I was looking to purchase a new Kindle I was debating whether I should splurge for the Voyage ($199) or settle for the Paperwhite ($119). I decided on the Paperwhite and I’m glad I did.

Usually I read newspapers and magazines on my iPad, however I wanted something that was easier to carry around at work in my pocket for whenever there is downtime and the lightweight Kindle serves that purpose well. Reading The New York Times, The New Yorker and TIME on it is easy and they’re formatted in a way that makes them easy to navigate.

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It’s easy to browse a publication’s sections and choose which articles you want to dive into. The text on the Paperwhite is crisp and easy to read, and the adjustable brightness makes everything easy to read no matter what kind of light you have.

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The Kindle has another advantage over a tablet in that it makes it easier to read without distraction. You won’t be distracted by any notifications or be tempted to close out of a book to check Facebook or Twitter. I’ve found it easier to pay attention to what I’m reading while using the Kindle for this reason.

The Kindle Paperwhite makes for a great travel device for anyone who likes to read, whether you’re into books, newspapers, magazines or all three! It’s lightweight, easy to use and an all around great device!

 

Catching up on Deadpool with Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited is essentially the Netflix for comic books, or for Marvel’s library of comic books at least. For $9.99 a month (or $69 a year) you get access to over 17,000 Marvel comic books via their iPad and Android apps and via the web (the mobile apps are preferable).

I used to buy comic books pretty regularly, but before long my subscriptions started to overwhelm me. I would stack up comics and never read them, and then storing them became a hassle. It was certainly cool to amass a collection and preserve them all neatly in bags, but it wasn’t very practical, especially in small living quarters. Eventually I just gave up on comics all together as I lost the time to keep up with them.

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Marvel Unlimited offers a convenient way to dive back into the world of comic books. It’s easy to go back to the beginning of just about any particular run and read through a series. Most series are current up to six months ago (there’s a six month waiting period between an issue’s release and its archival in the Unlimited library).

I’ve spent the last few nights catching up on the Deadpool (2012) series. I used to love reading Deadpool, but haven’t read an issue since mid 2011. So far the 2012 series has had some entertaining moments, but I feel like its a little less mature than the 2008-2012 run that I remember.

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The ‘rise of the dead presidents’ thing seemed pretty cool, but at some points I felt like the jokes and the concept seem a little too forced. Also, a lot of the Deadpool’s humor seems a little more immature than I remember it being. That said, the art is pretty cool and at times quite graphic. Oh and they set an elephant on fire!

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I’m excited to check out more series via Marvel Unlimited. The nice thing about the app is that it offers an avenue to explore series you might otherwise never purchase in a store. The library is incredibly large, which can seem overwhelming, however there is a ‘Discover’ section that offers plenty of starting points for anyone unsure of where to jump in.

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I’m looking forward to continuing the Deadpool series while also checking out many of the other great books Marvel has to offer. If you have any recommendations feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

 

Boise’s Stagecoach Theatre’s Complete, Abridged, Revised Shakespeare

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“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]” is a hilarious play which succeeds at performing all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in a mere 97 minutes. Of course, in order to do so the plays must be seriously abridged and the way in which this is accomplished is the cause of many laughs throughout.

The play began its run at the Stage Coach Theatre in Boise on Friday and will run until September 12. We saw Saturday night’s performance and absolutely loved it.

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jack and coke

We started the evening off with some cocktails in the lobby while waiting for the play to begin. If Off-Broadway’s “Drunk Shakespeare” proved anything, it’s nothing goes together with Shakespeare quite like a few drinks. The Jack and Cokes were strong and as I sipped it I couldn’t help but take in the wonderful community that makes up the theatre’s audience. So many of those in the lobby seemed to know everyone else in attendance and lively greetings were exchanged between the frequent patrons. The atmosphere inside the theater was filled with a jolly air that increased as cocktails were consumed.

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We took our seats in the small, cozy theater and waited for the show to begin. Once it did we never stopped laughing! All three actors were wonderful and played their parts well. They were enthusiastic, energetic and never missed a beat.

If you happen to find yourself in Boise at some point during the next few weeks I highly recommend attending the Stage Coach Theatre’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised].” It’s a blast!

Wanting to get back into HBO’s Girls

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Last year I started watching the HBO series, Girls and thoroughly enjoyed it after binge watching the first four episodes. Then, for whatever reason, I drifted away and never finished catching up on the show. Now that the fourth season has started, and Lena Dunham has been in the news, on talk shows and featured in magazines a lot lately, I’ve had a desire to get back into the show.

I’ve noticed a lot of hate being spewed on the internet lately about Dunham, and I don’t quite get it. I think part of it is fueled by this ‘anti feminist’ fad that’s cropped up on the web lately, and it’s just not cool. I know some people find some of her admissions featured in her memoir (Not That Kind of Girl) “sick” and offensive, yet I still think she’s not only an interesting and unique person but her character is also enjoyable to watch on the show.

Now here’s my dilemma. I have HBO and can watch Girls on demand, yet I’ve managed to exceed my internet provider’s sad 300gb data cap for the last three months and keep getting notices that my rates are going to be increased if I go over one more time (what a joke). In an age when physical media just seems silly to me (I download all of my Xbox One, 3DS and PC games, and stream all my movies) I’m facing a hurdle to enjoying the content I pay for. I could buy the seasons of Girls on Blu Ray (season one is just $10 on Amazon), but I already pay for HBO and have access to the first three seasons already. So do I sacrifice Netflix watching? Forgo downloading a game this month? What a first world problem to have right now…

Anywho, I’m probably going to download the rest of season one on demand and then see where I sit with the bandwidth cap before I start season two. At any rate I’m excited to get back into the show! I’m also pretty sure I’m going to pick up her memoir in the iBooks store, because I’m quite intrigued by her and want to know more.

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edited. Incorrectly described the current season as being the third.

Worth reading: The New Yorker 1 Sept 14: Why we Walk

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Last night on the bus ride up to the DMZ I read an awesome article in the September 1 issue of the New Yorker. Adam Gopnik’s “Heaven’s Gaits” was quite informative, intriguing and well written. Everything you might already expect from a New Yorker article, but I found this one in particular to be beyond exceptional.

The article begins by pondering the question of why people walk.

In the famous diagram, Darwinian man unfolds himself from frightened crouch to strong surveyor of the ages, and it looks like a natural ascensio: you start out bending over, knuckles dragging, timidly scouring the ground for grubs, then you slowly straighten up until there you are, staring at the skies and counting the stars and thinking up gods to rule them.

Adam then explores Matthew Algeo’s work in “Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport” which tells a fascinating story about competitive walking which I never knew ever existed in the first place. The article is worth reading just to learn about this fascinating piece of history alone.

He also talks about the Frédéric Gros book, A Philosphy of Walking, which explores the three different types of walkers (contemplative, cynical and contemplative-cynic). Another interesting examination that I couldn’t do justice to by trying to summarize, just read the article!

I absolutely loved reading this article and recommend it to anyone and everyone. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines from the article.

There’s no point in walking if you’re not getting ahead, even if the track you’re walking on turns out to be a perfect oval, taking you home.

 

 

Realized I’ve only finished one book since college

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I’ve come to the realization that since I graduated with a BA in English in 2010 I’ve only finished one book. That book, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It had me hooked, every chapter seemed to end on a cliffhanger and I had to read on to figure out what was really going on. And just when I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. Maybe I need another book like that?

I started reading JK Rowling’s ghost written The Cuckoo’s Calling about six months ago, and though I enjoyed it, I still haven’t finished it (I’m on page 431 on iBooks on my MacBook). I also have about 30 other books in my iBooks library that I’ve either read a page or two of or haven’t opened.

Part of it might be that I no longer have my iPad which I’d use to read in bed (I had intended to get an iPad Air but ended up with an Xbox One instead). Even then I’d get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, CNN or several other apps or websites. Yet I can’t find myself ever wanting to touch a paper book again. I just don’t like physical media. I subscribe to the New York Times but read it via the Chrome app (which is nice because it’s still laid out like a newspaper). Paper books and newspapers are just an unecessary waste of resources. Same goes for DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc. Why waste all that plastic when you can just go digital?

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Anyway, enough ranting. Maybe I’ll finish one of these books while I’m on vacation. I don’t mind reading on my MacBook (I love that Mavericks included iBooks) but again I can’t force myself to sit still long enough to focus on just one task.