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Brave New World


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Databases are everywhere. I got interested in databases as sort of a hobby about 15 years ago, and it took me awhile to figure out that everything and everybody are connected through databases: government agencies, banks, businesses, credit companies, the works. When you add in how Google watches what you do, how Amazon notes what you buy, how PayPal keeps an eye on what you're spending, how eBay records what you bid on and sell... all these databases know practically everything there is to know about you.

It's a little scary when I pop onto Google and it says, "based on your past searches, here's all the stuff we think you'll be interested in." And they're not too far off. It's just a little unnerving to realize what they know about us.

I seem to recall that in the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, when you walked into a department store, a monitor would pop up and say, "welcome *your name here*... we're having a sale on *item* in the so-and-so department": a tailor-made greeting based on your identity scan. Too scary.

How long before all the commercials we see on TV are specifically catered to our buying habits, economic status, and demographics?

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We don't need to be a Gloomy Gus about this stuff. It can work in our favor as well as being a threat. Sure, if we want to believe there's some ultimate power wanting to be in control of everything and it knows all our details and wants to use them against us, then we have to worry. But the obverse is true too. If they see who we are and what we like and then use that info to provide us with a menu of things we're interested in, what's the harm?

Conspiracy theorists always assume someone--or someones--is trying to make us into sheep. To me, that's the least likely scenario.

C

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How long before all the commercials we see on TV are specifically catered to our buying habits, economic status, and demographics?

My demographic is that I hate all commercials and never want to see them. Think they'll cater to me? Never. :hug:

Colin :hehe:

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Colinian, you're gay (I assume), you're into computers, you know Windows. Right there, they could send you all kinds of commercials catered to somebody into those categories.

The one good thing I can see about this is: I won't get ads intended for Jehovah's Witness followers, right-wingers, smokers, drinkers, or users of feminine hygiene products. But if the spots involve classic rock, good movies, home theater, and Macs, I'll pay attention. (And I also confess to enjoying sexy car commercials; the new one with the Mercedes that crashes through the showroom window, is exceptional.)

I can enjoy commercials if they're beautiful visually, have good-looking people in them, have products I'm thinking about buying, and/or are very funny and entertaining. And I also will watch movie commercials and TV promos about 90% of the time, if the show is remotely interesting. Otherwise, it's fast-forward all the way.

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Colinian, you're gay (I assume), you're into computers, you know Windows. Right there, they could send you all kinds of commercials catered to somebody into those categories.

They can send them, but will I watch them? I zone out when commercials come on TV now, and even the ones I watch often I can't remember what they're advertising. :doze:

The one good thing I can see about this is: I won't get ads intended for Jehovah's Witness followers, right-wingers, smokers, drinkers, or users of feminine hygiene products. But if the spots involve classic rock, good movies, home theater, and Macs, I'll pay attention. (And I also confess to enjoying sexy car commercials; the new one with the Mercedes that crashes through the showroom window, is exceptional.)

Yeah, sure, and I have a bridge I can sell you real cheap.

I can enjoy commercials if they're beautiful visually, have good-looking people in them, have products I'm thinking about buying, and/or are very funny and entertaining. And I also will watch movie commercials and TV promos about 90% of the time, if the show is remotely interesting. Otherwise, it's fast-forward all the way.

When we're watching live (like football games) we can't fast-forward. Now, if that can be solved I might be convinced. Back to the future, at least on TV, that's what I want!

Colin :icon_geek:

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When we're watching live (like football games) we can't fast-forward. Now, if that can be solved I might be convinced. Back to the future, at least on TV, that's what I want!

Sure you can. There's a technique called "Live Tivo Delay": you start watching the game about two hours late. Wind the Tivo back to the beginning of the game. Every time there's a commercial, fast forward through it, but watch the game at normal speed. By the time the 4th quarter starts, you'll be caught up to the actual live broadcast.

I hate commercials far more than you do -- partly because I've worked on them for a living, and I know too well the difference between good TV spots and bad. But commercials that are artfully done -- good to look at, entertaining premises, even artistic or funny -- will grab my attention every time.

As one example, I'd point to the "Mac vs. PC" commercials. Even if you don't like the message, the actors are terrific, the dialog is funny, and they're beautiful from a graphics point of view. Ditto with many of the commercials shown in the Superbowl, where it costs upwards of $2 million per spot for the ad time. I watch the game just to see the commercials, because I know the ad agencies did everything they could to make these commercials great.

So my point is: there's a huge difference between a boring commercial and a great commercial. I'll always watch the latter. But I still fast-forward through 80% of most commercial breaks. At this point, I'd rather hammer a nail through my big toe than watch live TV instead of Tivo.

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Sure you can. There's a technique called "Live Tivo Delay": you start watching the game about two hours late. Wind the Tivo back to the beginning of the game. Every time there's a commercial, fast forward through it, but watch the game at normal speed. By the time the 4th quarter starts, you'll be caught up to the actual live broadcast.

But... but... we can't wait two hours or even 15 minutes! Watching football on TV it has to be LIVE just like if we were attending the game.

As one example, I'd point to the "Mac vs. PC" commercials. Even if you don't like the message, the actors are terrific, the dialog is funny, and they're beautiful from a graphics point of view. Ditto with many of the commercials shown in the Superbowl, where it costs upwards of $2 million per spot for the ad time. I watch the game just to see the commercials, because I know the ad agencies did everything they could to make these commercials great.

These Apple ads might have great production values, but they are a stupid premise. They're comparing a software operating system, Windows, against a hardware platform bundled with a software operating system. I'd be more impressed if they were comparing the Apple OS against Windows, or the Apple hardware against HP computers including the operating system.

So my point is: there's a huge difference between a boring commercial and a great commercial. I'll always watch the latter. But I still fast-forward through 80% of most commercial breaks. At this point, I'd rather hammer a nail through my big toe than watch live TV instead of Tivo.

We don't watch much TV other than sports and the 10:00 news and once in a while an On Demand movie. We have a DVR but the only thing we record are sports that we're also attending live. Other than that, we're too busy with assignments and projects and studying for school.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Watching football on TV it has to be LIVE just like if we were attending the game.

You can't complain about watching commercials and then demand that you see it "really, truly live." What's the difference if you still don't know the outcome? What's the difference if the game still ends at the same time as it does live? The difference is: you don't have to see any commercials my way. But you gotta own a Tivo.

We own four Tivos, but that's because we're propellor-heads. (And it might not be for a lot longer, if I don't solve our current employment/money issues!)

I'd be more impressed if they were comparing the Apple OS against Windows, or the Apple hardware against HP computers including the operating system.

Well, that's essentially what it is. The commercials are extolling the virtues of the entire user experience, summarized in a :30 second spot. I would actually put Dell over HP in a lot of ways; Microsoft has admitted that they use Dells internally for much of their Windows development.

Have you ever used Macs for a period of time? I use Windows Vista several times a week, so I have no bias against it. The difference is: I've tried them both -- for more than 17 years -- and prefer the Mac for everyday use. Still buy Windows upgrades every year; still prefer the Mac.

We don't watch much TV other than sports and the 10:00 news and once in a while an On Demand movie.

90% of what I watch is news and feature films. The national average is 8 hours per day of TV, which to me is insane. I might watch 12 hours a week, if that, and all of that is on Tivo, and some of it is high-speed, if I get bored. (When American Idol is on, we can get through a 1-hour show in about 20 minutes.)

By the way, speaking of TV, I should put in a plug for the new Fox-TV show Glee, which might be the gayest show in the history of American television. As god is my witness, my partner and I met one of the actors in the show tonight at a party (for which I was doing sound for a live concert). Very cool lady. It's a totally over-the-top show, but I congratulate them for having a sympathetic (albeit very effeminate) portrayal of a gay teen in a 2009 high school.

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I really don't understand what the attraction is with TV shows. Sports are of no interest to me. As I told my straight neighbour, the only good thing about watching sports is that sometimes you can see up the leg of the player's shorts.

The local News is better off the Net, and International news is non-existent from our local stations. Day time soap opera has no redemption at all, and night time TV is only an excuse for commercials. If I wanted to be told what to think I can't imagine a better way to do it than watching TV at home. At least it saves going to church. My TV hours this year? About 2 hours and that was because I accidentally switched it on to a channel whilst setting up a new DVD player.

Of course it helps that we own our local DVD store, but even then I am finding the movies predictable, second rate and mostly obnoxious.

If you are all happy and getting something out of the TV that escapes me, then I am pleased for you. Personally I'd rather watch the Microsoft Windows update screen.

Yep, I reckon I have reached the grumpy old man stage of my existence.

Anyway, I have much more fun watching you guys and reading your stories.

And for relaxation there is always the wonder of the sun rise, (occurs at dawn in case you are interested.) :icon_geek:

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I really don't understand what the attraction is with TV shows. Sports are of no interest to me. As I told my straight neighbour, the only good thing about watching sports is that sometimes you can see up the leg of the player's shorts.

Ah, YOU'RE the reason NBA players began wearing those tight-fitting elastic thingamabobs under their shorts. You can't see a thing when they have those on. Guys like you must have been too obvious watching action they didn't intent you to watch.

I understand DirecTV is coming out with a per season agreement with the NBA where they offer their customers, for $195 a year, a filter that lets one see right through those damned leggings they wear. I guess you'll be one of the first to sign up.

My TV hours this year? About 2 hours and that was because I accidentally switched it on to a channel whilst setting up a new DVD player.

If you are all happy and getting something out of the TV that escapes me, then I am pleased for you. Personally I'd rather watch the Microsoft Windows update screen.

Yep, I reckon I have reached the grumpy old man stage of my existence.

I thought I held the record for least TV watched by an AD aficionado. Des has me beat. I DO watch sports, and the occasional movie on HBO, the occasional program on PBS, so my total is more than 2 hours a year. It may be less than 2 hours a week, however. I watch almost no network TV. With serial shows, I usually find the writing asinine and sophomoric, the characters monolithic and caricatures, and I hate all the commercials. I watched the first couple of seasons of Friday Night Lights as they had very unique characters and the writing was superb, but they changed when it was on and it was no longer convenient for me. That was about it. Until this year.

By the way, speaking of TV, I should put in a plug for the new Fox-TV show Glee, which might be the gayest show in the history of American television. As god is my witness, my partner and I met one of the actors in the show tonight at a party (for which I was doing sound for a live concert). Very cool lady. It's a totally over-the-top show, but I congratulate them for having a sympathetic (albeit over the top) portrayal of a gay teen in a 2009 high school.

This show is the exception. Someone told me I had to watch it, so a couple of weeks ago I did. And I've seen it each week since. I love Kurt, the gay kid. He's heroic in his own way, and so easy to empathize with. It would be so easy to turn his part into burlesque or parody and they haven't. In making that decision, the role reeks with the kid's emotions and you get into what he's going through. If this show doesn't help gay high school kids overcome some of the prejudice around them, nothing can.

I loved when he came out to his father last week. Just great writing. Even the attempt at humor at the end of it didn't detract, merely added some human interest to it.

The show itself tickles the edges of fantasy without going over the top. Jane Lynch makes the show worth watching just for her bits. The overall plot lines are inane, but done it a way that makes the whole thing watchable.

I mean, who WOUDLN'T want to see a football team doing a dance number on the field with two seconds left in a game?

You have to see it to understand.

Cole

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I might be tempted to watch Glee (And not just for footballers dancing, Are they naked?) but I have no idea if we are getting the show here. The last program I enjoyed on TV was Boston Legal, but that was some years ago.

Cole, for $195, I would want more than a glimpse through the leggings. :icon_geek:

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I might be tempted to watch Glee (And not just for footballers dancing, Are they naked?) but I have no idea if we are getting the show here. The last program I enjoyed on TV was Boston Legal, but that was some years ago.

Hey, I actually worked on Boston Legal on and off for about four years. Really well-photographed show, and the people that we dealt with were very nice. While I think Bill Shatner is a pompous a-hole, he was damn near perfect, take after take, and rarely screwed up his lines. For his age, he has a lot of energy when he's on the set.

Virtually no locker room scenes yet on Glee, except for one brief moment where the Glee club singing teacher asks the football players if any of them thinks they have any singing talent and would like to participate in their club.

To me, that was a huge omission in the show: what the uber-macho American football players would do when they have to deal with a very gay team member, who happens to have won a game by kicking the extra point. (Apparently, he learned his high-stepping kicks by watching the Rockettes.) I kept hoping for a shower scene, but no luck so far.

Maybe they'll deal with this in the future. We can only hope...

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To me, that was a huge omission in the show: what the uber-macho American football players would do when they have to deal with a very gay team member, who happens to have won a game by kicking the extra point. (Apparently, he learned his high-stepping kicks by watching the Rockettes.) I kept hoping for a shower scene, but no luck so far.

Well, they actually did deal with it, but very ineffectively. They showed the team coming around when he proved to them in practice that he could actually help them win, which they'd been unable to do without him, but the coming around was shown in about a two second clip of team players faces looking accepting all at once. I totally agree that they could have made it much bigger, but then, the focus of the show is only partly on Kurt. All the kids have various problems, and I'd guess they'll all have their moments in the lead sooner or later. I've only seen three episodes. I want to see the wheelchair-bound kid do something. Maybe he did already and I missed it.

C

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This is especially true when I think that I pay about ?35.00 ($60.00) per month to a satellite company and they blitz me with up to 20 mins of commercials each and every hour.

I assume that Sky TV has a Tivo/DVR of some kind available. Just record everything on a hard drive and skip through the commercials.

We're about to cut it, but I think our satellite bill in California is about $150 (for three systems). If I had no way to bypass the commercials, I'd jump off the roof.

But I still say at least 10% of all commercials and promos can be entertaining. Here in the U.S., Tivo actually notes the data on which commercials people will go back and watch again, because that's when you know the advertiser's tricks have worked. But 90% of the commercials we see just go by in a blur. But if I catch the glimpse of one hot body, I'm like, "whoa! Let's check that out." :icon_geek:

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Quote;"I assume that Sky TV has a Tivo/DVR of some kind available. Just record everything on a hard drive and skip through the commercials".

Yes they do and I recently ordered it. Soon after, they said that they anticipated delivery to be in three months time, AND they would require another ?10.00 per month for the HD content I would be able to receive once it was installed; I'm afraid I told them to stick it where the sun don't shine.

I'm seriously thinking of going for 'Freesat'. The content won't be as good I suppose but they do add channels on a regular basis. I wouldn't be contributing to Murdoch's financial power anymore then would I? I truly think the man is a greedy, grabbing, total arsehole and I begrudge every penny I've ever spent with him.

Rick

Rick, imagine how I feel about Murdoch, he comes from Adelaide. The only daily newspaper here, is his. It took 4 days for their website to even hint that Obama had been elected President and I suspect that was only because I sent them an email telling them that obviously hadn't heard about it. Your assessment of him is very generous. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the bad guys.

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Thank God for the BBC who don't have commercials.

Rick

The BBC don't have commercials, that's true. But does this mean we can watch programme after programme without interruptions for advertising? It used to, but no more. The BBC now bombards their audience with teasers, trailers, plugs for their different channels and other services, and they can be just as irritating as commercials because although they're not generally naff, they are tediously repetitive.

Why, after all these years, do we still get adverts showing some domestic bimbo being lectured by a man in a white coat about why his washing powder is better than the competition's? Or a chirpy chappy interviewing housewives about the benefits of this butter-substitute over another? They are so cheesy that the result for the image of the brand must be negative, surely?

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