Stupid White Boy Blabble

Driving in the Left Lane – UPDATED

April 13, 2011
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Oh boy. Few things make me more upset than driving. Whether it’s the slow driver or the person who just cuts you off, nothing makes my blood boil more than driving. Luckily I live in the city where walking and public transportation make my driving almost obsolete. BUT I still have to at times.

Now I hold the belief that speed doesn’t kill. That doesn’t mean I drive 100 mph on the freeway or 50 through a neighborhood. But I believe that bad driving is the main cause. Speed might have been a factor but it isn’t the main cause of crashes. With that said, I don’t mind if people drive slow. Some people prefer it and that’s fine. What I do mind is people who drive slow in the left lane. Lets brush those cobwebs off your brain and look back at what we learned in drivers education. It is indeed a law to continually drive in the left lane. As stated in the Revised Codes of Washington (RCW) under RCW 46.61.100 Section four “It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.” And while it might not seem like it is something police enforcement wouldn’t pull you over for, police are indeed cracking down on it.

The problem is, it disrupts the flow of traffic. I admit, I drive about 5-10 mph over the speed limit on the freeway. I get it from my parents who both speed. And I try to always stay in the right lane because I don’t want to be hypocritical. But when I am passing a few cars in the left lane and come up on someone driving at or below the speed limit, that’s when the frustration begins. It is clear that as I am catching up with you, I would like to keep going past you. Yet I am have to hit the brakes and slow down. Then I have to try and get in the right lane (passing in the right lane can be illegal) and pass them. Not only does it slow me down, but it can also disrupt smooth moving traffic in the right lane.

So please, for the sake of my sanity, and for the sake of helping everyone get to their destination more smoothly, stay out of the left lane except to pass. And yes, stereotypes are often true, Washington probably violates this more than anyone. Plus we all love to drive slow. And drink coffee.

UPDATE: An even better video of a police officer enforcing the “don’t sit in the left lane” law

The Washington State Patrol has a good video on left-lane driving:

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Pirate: No Longer One with the Sea

April 12, 2011
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Growing up, a pirate was someone on the open see, eye patch over one eye, probably a peg leg and a parrot that would speak nonsense. They would say things like “ahoy matey” and “booty.” It was entertaining and every boy wanted to grow up to be one.

Now in 2011, pirate means far more. No longer does it mean people with a skull and bones tattoo. Now it’s someone who sits behind a computer and “steals” movies, music and anything else that is downloadable. And I would be willing to bet that most of these people don’t look like pirates of yesteryear. Though a pirate today is viewed in disdain by the public much like those of the past. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) would want you to believe that downloading their media is harming their industry. The profit lost from each illegal download not only hurts the artists but the engineers and other employees who worked on the album.

But what if that wasn’t the case. In fact, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the RIAA’s global partner, claimed in 2009 that only 10 percent of music piracy accounts for a lose of sale. That is a a stark contrast to what the RIAA would want you to believe. And the IFPI is right. Not all illegal downloads would have been a sale. I would even say most wouldn’t have been a sale. Simple thinking says that if something is free, most people will take the free item regardless of want. I admit that I have illegally downloaded music before. I had no intent to go out and buy the CD either (of course this doesn’t mean I should get it for free, but that’s another argument). That CD I illegally downloaded, I only listened to once. It sits on my computer having not been played for a couple of years. So was that a lost of profit from stealing that? Nope, I wouldn’t have paid for it in the first place. And that is the biggest factor that the RIAA doesn’t want you to know.

Additionally, the RIAA says they are combating piracy for the artists. But a recent survey of 4,000 artists show that most don’t think that piracy hurts them financially and that piracy offers them more exposure.

As for the movie industry and the MPAA, their claims are even more ridiculous. In the past 30 years, they have only seen a drop in box office revenue six times. Three of those times, the drop was less than one percent in lost revenue. In 2009, we had the biggest grossing movie ever too. So their claims are getting pretty old. Yes, they claim that the decline in DVD sales is what is really hurting the industry, but when grossed over $21 billion dollars in movie theater ticket sales alone from the past two years, it is clear that piracy isn’t hurting you.

For a moment, lets agree with the MPAA and RIAA that piracy is hurting them. What could they do to make more people interested in actually buying their media?

  • Allow consumers to buy the media in the format they want. iTunes offers their music in 256kbps and most streaming services only offer up to 720p. We all have these great devices that allow us to play music and movies to their full potential, yet we are limited by the quality we are offered. The record companies and movies studios need to work with these services to provide the consumer the best possible experience.
  • Reasonably priced. I remember when iTunes was offering all songs for 99 cents and albums were $10. Now it’s $1.29 a song and albums can be $15. Wasn’t digital distribution supposed to make things cheaper? I was paying $15 for physical CDs back in the day. No way would I want to spend that now when all you are doing is transferring me songs. And I can rent a movie on AppleTV for $5. Could I at least spend $10 and buy the copy? Nope, that’s somewhere around the $15 range. $10 is the magical number for consumers.
  • Same release dates across the globe. We here in the USA have it nice. We get a lot of music and movies first before the rest of the world does. This used to not be a problem because it was harder to find information about what was being released and when. Now with the internet, the whole world knows about upcoming music and movies, well in advance. So instead of only allowing American consumers to buy something, why not let our friends all over the world do the same. Because once someone buys it and illegally uploads it, you can bet the people in countries where the media hasn’t been officially released, will pirate it.

These are just a few things the RIAA and MPAA can do to help combat piracy. But they have to remember that just because someone illegally downloads something, does not mean they lost money on that consumer. The likelihood is that it would have never seen that money anyways.

For more information about all of this, I highly recommend Torrent Freak. They have great information about what piracy really is and the issues that occur.


The Future: Tracking Your Kids Every Move

February 18, 2011
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Remember that rush you got when you played hooky from school? You felt like you just committed murder but it felt so good. Everyone did it whether once or enough to get you held back. Well soon kids won’t know what that is like. Goodbye growing up.

The Orange County Register reports around 75 seventh- and eighth-grade California students are just the latest to have a GPS tracker planted on them so they can be tracked by their school. I guess there were successful trials in San Antonio and Baltimore, where attendance of school-skipping-kids increased from 77 percent to 95 percent. The six week program requires each kid to check-in (incorporating social media tactics is fun!) five times throughout the day: when they’re leaving for school; when they arrive at school; at lunchtime; when they’re leaving for school, and again at 8pm. So not only are they monitoring you, you have to remember each day to key in a code at a certain time? Sounds tedious and annoying.

Miller Sylvan, regional director of the company involved with the program, said

We want the students to be interactive with the device and take steps to let us know where they are. That helps teach them the discipline they need to be responsible. It gets them thinking about their schedule.

What schedule do seventh and eighth graders have? Wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, hang out with friends and go to sleep. If you are playing a sport, add that right before “come home.” Tough schedule to remember. And helps teach them to be responsible. What happened to the parenting aspect of that? I feel like that needs to be taught by mom and dad and not some government run device.

I am not saying that kids should skip school. When I am older, I would like these kids to be running my country responsibly. But when does responsibility fall on the shoulders of the kid? Or even the parent? Growing up and making mistakes is all part of learning process. Now we are just letting the government hold our hands. How did humans survive all these years without the hand holding government?

So remember kids, stay in school. The government is watching.


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Millionaires Can’t Avoid DUIs

February 17, 2011
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Drunk driving. It is a huge problem in our country. One that routinely takes the lives of innocent people because other stupid people think they are “OK.” It is sad tragedy.

But thats not what this post is about. This post goes out to all the celebrities and sports stars that get busted for driving under the influence. I don’t know about other people, but it is absolutely baffling that these people, who make millions upon millions of dollars a year, get pulled over for a DUI. It’s not the fact that they get caught but rather that they are driving at all. Let me reiterate, they make millions of dollars a year. And these morons get behind the wheel of car after drinking. Have these people never heard of a taxi? Hell, they could afford a limo or town car! When my friends and I go out, we plan ahead with cabs and we make a fraction of what these mega stars make. If I had millions, I would call up a limo tell them to take me and my friends around town and then safely return everyone home. A limo doesn’t cost more than $200 an hour, chump change when you make millions.

So every time I see an article that looks like “SUPER STAR NAME Busted for DUI,” I feel absolutely no sympathy for them. One, because they have millions and could have taken a different form of transportation and two, because they will get off with a slap on the wrist. Tough life they live.


Voicemails

February 17, 2011
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I hate voicemails. Every time I see that damn red circle with a number in it, hovering over my phone icon, I get annoyed. I would rather someone text, Tweet, Facebook, e-mail or send a pigeon than leave me a voicemail. I don’t know what it is exactly I hate about voicemails. Maybe it is the thought of listening to someone ramble on about pointless stuff as they try to fit everything they wanted to say in the small timeframe they have. Maybe because I am new school and prefer if it is important, someone just sends a text “call me when you have a minute.” That way they aren’t interrupting me and giving me the option of calling when I feel like it.

When I was at college, my mom would call and leave me a voicemail. I wouldn’t listen to them and would instead just return her phone call. Instantly she would ask me, “did you listen to my voicemail?” My response would always be “No, whatever you said in your voicemail would probably involve me calling you back anyways, so why don’t you tell me now instead.” She would get frustrated but still repeat whatever she said in the voicemail. Note: I love my mother very much. I would word my response in a much nicer tone but the end point would be the same.

Gizmodo posted an article posing the question “Is it ever OK to leave a voicemail anymore?” Pretty good read and I would agree with most of the points throughout the article. Yes, if my best friend or family member got engaged, birthed a child or had a death, please call and leave a voicemail if I don’t answer. But if you are calling me to catch up, don’t leave a voicemail. The likelihood of me returning your phone call quickly was just reduced 90%. I will call you back simply by seeing you called, I promise. Voicemails are also acceptable for the working environment. But I would argue an e-mail would net you a quicker response.

So please, next time you call, really think about what you have to say and if it voicemail worthy. It’s probably not.


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Bank of America

February 15, 2011
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I have been a loyal Bank of America (BoA) customer for as long as I can remember. My parents got me an account there when I was like 10 and I thought I was so awesome. They have been good to me too. Send me new cards promptly, fairly good customer service and their website is easy to read.

But as of late, BoA’s actions have been fairly sketchy. First I read that some BoA accounts had a security breach (from a car blog, none-the-less) and made no mention of it via e-mail or on their website. Their later tweeted that everything was ok. This makes me feel like they don’t these security breaches seriously when in fact our bank accounts are probably one the most important things to us and a security breach could be very damaging to people. An e-mail to customers or something would have been nice, even to those unaffected.

Now it is reported that BoA is planning on starting a sort-of smear campaign against Wikileaks and its supporters (journalists and such). Whether you support Wikileaks or not, this kind of action is not right and should not be tolerated. We shouldn’t have major corporations trying block journalists from doing their job. It is because of journalists that we know so much not only about our government but the world around us. And while Wikileaks is controversial, a journalist doing his or her job is not.

I know BoA has come out and said they never saw the proposed campaign or had any interest in it. But it still bothers me to know that BoA somehow got tied to it. I hope BoA figures their stuff out, I really don’t want to deal with switching banks. Wikileaks information on BoA may be the last straw though.


About author

I'm Jeff. I like PR, sports, politics and traveling. Not in that order. Oh and I also like cats and sharks. Go Cougs!

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