7
Aug
2008

Back in April of this year, I did one of the largest lists I had ever done for Mashable: Dating Toolbox: 120+ Sites For Singles To Find Love.  I thought I had hit the majority of the dating sites out there when I even found one dedicated to farmers, but somehow I completely missed The Ashley Madison Agency.

As you can see, there slogan is, “Life is short.  Have an affair.”  I’m kind of surprised this didn’t end with an exclamation point, but oh well.  As you’ve guessed from that, this site is dedicated only to married individuals who are looking to cheat on their spouse.  I admit I didn’t bother signing up to peruse the site myself, but I would imagine there are more than a few single men in there also whom are sure they can provide some lonely housewife with just what they need, but in general it is for married folks.

Though the site has been around since 2002, I had never heard of it until the news came out that ESPN’s parent company, Disney, had instructed the network to stop running television ads for the service.

Wait…

They run television ads for a site built specifically for people who want to have affairs?  According to the article in AdFreak, Noel Biderman, president of the agency, doesn’t understand how the service differs from the beer ads run on ESPN and why those are allowed to continue while this site isn’t.

Er… well, you see, the thing is…

Honestly, I have a very “live and let live” mentality when it comes to other people’s lifestyles.  I have known people of of so many varied backgrounds that it would be impossible for me to be judgmental of anyone who chooses to do anything short of murder.  What I do have is a problem with is a website whose sole puprose is to profit from facilitating the breaking of marital vows.  I am not naive in that I don’t know this happens on other dating sites on a daily basis, but those sites are not built around that lone concept.  The site says they don’t encourage infidelity, and they say that just because it exists it won’t cause people to stray, they are merely providing a service.

urk… I think my brain just broke.

Just because you can build a site or service doesn’t always necessairly mean you should, and this is one of those cases.

6
Aug
2008

***MAJOR SPOILERS***

Continue Reading ->

5
Aug
2008

I mentioned back on July 26th that Yahoo Music is shutting down, and due to their Digital Rights Management (DRM) their music files would be rendered unplayable when this happened.  Well Yahoo has come up with a solution… kinda.

Yahoo Music will be issuing coupons to their customers so they can buy their musical tracks again from Rhapsody.  The problem with this is that their tracks, while not protected by DRM, are “tethered” to devices that have PlaysForSure computability.  In other words… not on iPods, the world’s most popular digital music player.  You also can’t burn them to CD… oh yeah, this is so much better!  Great solution Yahoo!

While I understand the prediciment those who already bought the music are in, I would certainly hope no one else would continue to support these types of systems.  It is time for malarkey such as this to come to an end.  Again, you bought the music legally, you should be able to play it as you wish.  Ever bought a CD and been told you can only play it in certain CD players?  No.  So there is no reason digital media should be any different.

4
Aug
2008
Written by  |  under Business, Comic Books, Life  |  2 Comments

Hard to believe it, but Splash Page Comics/AnimeUSA turns 22-years-old today.

Since I have gained so many followers over this past year, many of you may not even know about “my other life”.  Besides writing for Mashable, I have a “day job” working on the family business, AnimeUSA.  The store officially opened on August 4th, 1986 as a comic book store, but quickly started morphing over the years.

My mother had a costume shop in an old house on one of the major streets in Kirksville, and only 4 blocks from Truman University.  She didn’t have any use for the old garage, so at the age of 14, I asked if I could convert it into a comic book store.  After some convincing, the parents gave in and Splash Page Comics was born.  (For those who don’t know, a “splash page” is any page of a comic book that consists of only 1 panel taking up the entire page)

In 1993, mom was tiring of the costume business having been involved in it since she was 18, and I was quickly outgrowing the garage.  She opted to close the costume shop and give the bigger portion of the building over to the comic store.  We quickly outgrew that space and expanded into even more of the building.

1999 saw us doing so much business in anime products from Japan, we opened a sub-division named AnimeUSA.  We were traveling to more and more conventions around the country, and showing up at an anime show calling ourselves “Splash Page Comics” just didn’t make much sense.

By 2000, I was getting more involved with ecommerce, and our convention business was picking up so much that I was contemplating closing the retail store as it was holding its own, but was becoming a very small portion of our gross take, but the majority of our headaches.  I talked it over with a good friend of mine while we were flying to Japan together on a buying trip in August 2000, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

We were again on our way to Japan in August 2001, and he was with me again.  Again the subject came up (hey, it’s a 10 and 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles), and after much hemming and hawing, I called my parents from Tokyo and told them to get ready to do it by the end of the year.

I returned from Tokyo just a little over a week before the events of 9/11, and that extended the time frame as we had other issues to deal with in regards to my dad’s job, and it just not being a priority on our minds.  I finally closed the retail store in December of 2001 after 15 years and 21 weeks of it being open.

We finally sold the building that in late 2002 when the gas station next door offered to buy it to expand their parking lot.  They offered us enough we could build a 3,000 square foot warehouse (the old building was 1,800 square feet and very broken up as it had been a house) on property we already owned, and we moved out in March 2003.

The warehouse is doing a beautiful job of keeping us contained, and it is so nice not going, “Which room is product x in?”  The old building was demolished in 2003, but I still smile every time I drive by it as I spent so much of my life there, but now I actually like the building we’re in as the old one was impossible to heat.

There are a million little facts about the history of the business I’ve left out as you would with any 22 year history, but this is a good general over view of the history.  Still, it’s impossible I’ve been doing this for well over two decades now.  Yikes!

3
Aug
2008

As of Saturday, The Dark Knight finally passed the magical $360 million dollar benchmark meaning it is officially into profitability!

Not only that, it came in number 1 at the box office for a third weekend, but it ended up finishing the weekend at $394 million in domestic box office totals.  This places it in eight place on the all time domestic box office chart, putting it in easy striking distance of becoming the highest grossing comic book film of all time.

If you’re curious what my apparent obsession with watching this movie’s gross is, I fear what what it means for the future of comic book related movies.  There is no denying it is a good movie, I even gave it a good review, but with the insane amount of money it is making, and Iron Man breaking the $300 million dollar barrier earlier this summer, we’re set for even more comic book based films coming out way.

The thing Hollywood needs to remember is that for every The Dark Knight, that there is also an Incredible Hulk.  To date, the Hulk has done $133 million gross on a $150 million dollar budget, meaning it has no shot of hitting profitability at the box office, and it’s going to have a hard time making up the difference on DVD.

Please Hollywood, don’t slaughter us with even more comic book movies in insane grabs for cash.  Pick your projects carefully, and as much as I love the Watchmen comic book, the advance fervor over the film already has me worried Warner Brothers is betting too much on it.

2
Aug
2008

Ina follow-up to my original post, Beijing has opened the Internet to journalists slightly more, but it still isn’t what they promised.

While the International Olympic Committee has met with Beijing officials, they still have not gotten the unrestricted access to the Internet that journalists were promised.  According to the Telegraph, journalists are finding the sites of BBC’s Chinese language service, Amnesty International and Radio Free Asia amongst others.

However, Sun Weide, spokesman for the Beijing Olympics, was quoted on ChinaView.net with the reasons such sites would be blocked:

“If a few websites are difficult to browse, it’s mainly because they have spread content that is banned by the Chinese laws.”

Okay, fine, we all know the Chinese hate Amnesty International, but the BBC Chinese language service? It’s just another news service like any other, so what could be the reason for blocking that one?  I have also heard that they are blocking information about Tibet (surprise, surprise), but the BBC blockage still surprises the heck out of me.

Sun Wiede was also heard to say that he hoped journalists could respect the laws and regulations of China, and that isn’t my issue, for me it is that they said one thing and are doing another.  Why was their promise of unrestricted access and no one learns until they got there that this wasn’t true.  I think if it had been announced previous it would have still annoyed people, but people wouldn’t be quite as annoyed because they could have planned for it better.

The thing that gets me is that China is making a bigger story out of this it needed to be if they had just left the access alone.  Do they somehow think blocking these sites will keep them from being included in a story?  That is what the “Additional Reporting by…” credit is for in an article.  You write up your part, email it to your office, they can add away with information from those sites.

While I understand this firewall is fairly strong, there are ways to still have the information on your own:

– If they are allowed access to remote desktop systems such as GoToMyPc, you can log in to your home computer, browse any site you want via your desktop, and all that will be seen on your end is the IP of the site you used to access to your home system.

– Site stripping programs will make a complete copy of a website you download, just bring it with you on your laptop, or download it from your companies server.

– Screenshots are amazing things.

– People can read a website to you over the phone without much trouble.

There are more, but you get the idea.

Again, I do believe in the laws of a nation you are in, but when you promise one thing, but deliver another with no warning, of course people are going to be annoyed, and that ends up becoming the story.

1
Aug
2008

ScattercastJust me yammering at you this week folks, and I apologize in advance for my voice starting to go towards the end. Stupid pollen.

This week I talk about this story at Valleywag about people getting angry, again, about how Google Street View violates your “privacy”.

I give some thought to a comment left by Kim Greenblatt in regards to the post I did about The Dark Knight still not being profitable at the $314 million dollar mark.

And lastly I go on about this story of the band Buckcherry “leaks” their own music, and blames pirates. Stupid people.

Here’s

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for those who wish to download it.