YouTube Inc

Does Labour even know how the internet works?

Bruce Simpson doesn’t think so:

One of the big headlines in the local tech/business media today is the claim by Labour that SkyTV is about to establish a virtual monopoly in the delivery of web-TV content.

Do these people even understand how the internet works?

Fair enough that attention be paid to how a broadcaster like Sky might establish a monopoly in the broadcast delivery of programme content, because of the high barriers to entry associated with this medium — but anyone can challenge the big players when it comes to IPTV.

In fact, when I checked last week, my YouTube channels are reaching an audience of around 50,000 people per day which is not an insignificant number in the world of NZ media.

And that’s just a nobody who makes quirky video content about model airplanes, jet engines and has the occasional rant about electric vehicles and fuel-saver scams.

With Ultra Fast Broadband the barrier to entry for radio, TV and almost every type of content that you can imagine are significantly lowered.

To reach the same number of people using terrestrial or satellite broadcasting would cost an arm and a leg — which is why dominant players find it relatively easy to create virtual monopolies and keep any competitors at arms-length.

What’s more, broadcasters such as SkyTV also have the ability to lock-up programme material in a way that means others can’t offer it. Take the SciFi channel for example…

I’d love to be able to get the SciFi channel and it’s probably one of the few bits of TV that I would be prepared to pay a subscription to receive. However, I understand that Sky have an option on that channel which precludes any other broadcaster from carrying it in NZ, even though Sky themselves refuse to do so.

That doesn’t happen in the online world.

If I want, I can distribute my video content using YouTube, Vimeo or any of the slew of similar video streaming sites. There is no exclusivity or nasty attempts to monopolise material as is the case in the broadcast world.

So yes, by all means, let’s have someone with the power to change things, take a good look at Sky’s nasty practices in respect to their abuse of a broadcasting monopoly — but don’t sweat it over their IPTV activities.

I’d listen to Bruce Simpson a long time before I’d listen tot he whining of Clare Curran.

Len's train set

Len Brown went around the campaign denying to all who would listen that he was promising to spend more than $4 billion. I sat in quite a few debates between him and John Banks and everytime John Banks said that Len Brown was promising to spend more than $4 billion he would vigorously deny it.

Yet now in the past few days we have heard nothing else but his $4 billion pipe dreams. It’s actually closer to $5 billion, but who is counting when he denied it all campaign.

He has campaigned on three rail project plans – a central city tunnel, a city-airport link and a city-Albany link – which will cost up to $4.75 billion.

Now the greedy fat cats of the South Island are upset about his plans. I can understand their upset, they would really rather have the billions spent on them. But it is a little bit off after the government dumped $1.7 billion on South Canterbury and another $4 billion on Christchurch and bailed out the greedy farmers in Southland who lost stock from a wee storm to the tune of another $1 billion.

I wonder just how much government assistance there would be for businesses in Aucklnd that lost stock in a storm? I bet it would be zero.

Credit though to the greedy South Island mayors who have seen that the new Auckland City will become a political powerhouse. Tough titty to them though. The simple fact about Auckland is that more than a third of the population live in the new city and more than half of the population lives north of Taupo.

However Len Brown does need to be held to account for his insane rail policies. It is perhaps relevant then to look at some details concerning car vs. public transport.

I found a great article in the Winnipeg Free Press about just this.

Before the Industrial Revolution, food was scarce and gruelling work was done outside. European paintings of the period glamourize women who were very white and more than a little plump. Today, most workplaces are out of the sun, and food is plentiful, so people will pay a lot of money to be tanned and thin like the achingly thin models on catwalks. Following the pattern, as cars have become abundant, fashion has set its sights on the car-free lifestyle.

It’s good to be in a society where such experiments in living are available to those who want them; this writer has no car and rarely needs to venture out of Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood. But public policy, by its very nature, binds everybody. It’s therefore important that romantic visions are tempered by respect for personal choice and cognizant of what new technology will make possible.

Yes, indeed, public policy binds us all, and even the NZ Herald editorial today implores Len Brown to “sell rail to everyone“. Well this blogger ain’t buying rail. It is a 19th century invention that hasn’t much improved, and it is expensive in the building and more expensive in the running.

It’s time to recognize that cars are a wonderful thing, and there is good reason to expect technology that already exists will soon mitigate the objections some have to them.

Cars have made people more mobile than at any time in our history. As author Randal O’Toole has calculated, the average American travels 29,000 kilometres per year, at an average travel speed of 56 kilometres per hour. Twenty-three thousand of those kilometres are by car. For comparison, Americans in 1900 averaged 3,600 kilometres per year at an average speed of 13 kilometres per hour. They were dependent on street cars, steam trains, and their feet.

This mobility increases the options people have for work, culture, and commerce. The American Transportation Research Board has found that welfare recipients with a car in Los Angeles County have access to 59 times more jobs (yes, 59 times as many) as those reliant on walking and transit.

Those are very impressive statistics and are a testament to the freedom a car gives you, rather than the tyranny of public transport.

Minority sports would be impractical without the car. You can play ice hockey in tropical Auckland, New Zealand, and rugby in CFL-mad Saskatchewan. Such diversity is possible only because minority sports’ thinly spread devotees are able to move quickly to a central point for games and practices.

Similarly, large-scale stores such as Walmart and Superstore, which have driven down prices for consumer goods, are possible only because large numbers of people can travel to them easily and take home enough goods to justify an involved shopping trip in a large store.

This is the crux of any issue regarding public transport. Everyone thinks it is a good idea for everyone else to take public transport. But diversity necessitates private transport rather than the constraints of rail.

What’s more, there are good reasons to believe that technology will make cars dramatically better for the environment and less draining on infrastructure.

Driverless cars are already here. Try searching YouTube for “BMW GPS Control.” You’ll see Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson sitting mortified with his hands off the wheel and his feet off the pedals as the car laps a racing circuit at full speed complete with smoking tires.

What that means for transport is that road use will become a lot more efficient. With all the foibles of imprecise judgment and distracted behaviour, humans driving cars at 100 kilometres per hour can manage a traffic flow of 2,200 vehicles per lane per hour. With the precision of computer controlled cars, that figure can rise to 8,000 and you can see how we might not need to widen roads as much as we thought.

Could we really trust robots as chauffeurs? Autopilots have landed passenger jets for decades, and the alternative is human drivers who may be tired, drunk, texting, distracted or all of the above.

Well if we trust airlines to land us remotely why not explore technology as a means of unclogging our roads. When I say technology I mean 21st centruy technology not 19th century technology.

On the environment, General Motors have claimed that their Chevrolet Volt, an innovative electric car scheduled for launch next month, will get an equivalent of 230 miles to the gallon for city driving. That’s almost 10 times better than current vehicles. Such an innovation will likely make a mockery of efforts to wrestle people out of their cars. Why bother when technology has just solved 90 per cent of the problem anyway?

We hear public transport advocates calling for integrated ticketing, when it would be far better to have an integrated transport system. That for me means ripping up the tracks, and making them bus/truckways, giving buses the ability to provide end to end delivery of passengers without the need to transfers. They simply pick up their passengers in suburbia then drive to an interchange with the busway and then travel unimpeded to their detination. Add trucks onto the heavy transport corridor and all of a sudden the motorways would move freely.

We don’t need trains, they cost too much, and Len Brown doesn’t have the $4 billion anyway, so let’s get sensible with public transport.

Like the pasty fat women in the paintings, alternative lifestyles will always be idealized by the trendy set. That’s fine, but the private car is not just some gross obsession of the masses. It’s probably created more freedom and opportunity than any other invention we have, and it’s going to get better. Let’s hope that public policy makers can rouse enough of their own enthusiasm to respect that.

And that is the problem. Len Brown and his hangers on are socialists and freedom is not something they want for people, they prefer control.

Busted Blonde is a fake and shits on her friends

So we all helped Busted Blonde take home the piss in the crass Veuve Clicquot/NBR competition.

What the silly bitch didn’t know was just how much work went in behind the scenes to amp the the pressure on the stupid Managing Editor who clearly had a rush of shit tot he brains when engaging with social media.

Chaos and mayhem was sole driver to blogosphere support, In between extensive tweets, facebook posts and blog post there were also pre-emptory emails to the idiot managing editor predicting the coming shit storm across the blogosphere. The fool even emailed me to ask what he could do to avoid making NBR and Veuve Clicquot famous in a “bad way” and then spectacularly failed to take my advice. Make no mistake the blogopshere saw this as a chance to kick Barry Colman, his pay-wall, his rag of a mag and Veuve Clicquot squarely in the nuts.

Another person who prefers the sound of her own voice and fails to listen to advice is the Busted Blonde also known as Brunette. She caved just when NBR was flat on the floor and settled for about half the amount of piss she could have got had the sting continued to run.

It was out of complete disgust with her blancmange pudding like softness that stopped me dropping a copy of the birthday edition of NBR and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot with some hookers and a video camera.

As the kicking was being administered across the blogosphere Busted Blonde was desperately trying to appear concilairoty in an attempt to “make bloggers appear nice”. Well excuse me, but who asked for her fucking opinion. Bloggers aren’t nice, we are evil and especially when delivering one of the best kickings ever to the double target of a mainstream media outlet (The owner of which hates bloggers) and a worldwide premium brand in the guise of Veuve Clicquot.

The fact that we were getting a blow by blow account of Barry Colman’s rage as it unfolding on the poor fool of a managing editor was even more special.

And the ultimate aim, a whole pile of piss to the weight of an extremely fat woman and a party in Frank Kitts lagoon.

Busted Blonde's NBR entry

Have we seen the party? Of course not, because Busted Blonde, the bloody great pudding wants to have a charity function woth the free piss comepletly against her stated ambitions for winning the competition. It seems only fair that if we kicked the shit out of “Liar” Joe Holden then we should do the same to Busted Blonde.

When Barry Colman finally realised what his fool of an editor had unleashed he dipped into his own pocket to stump up with the piss. This si what that tough blogger Busted Blonde had to say about it in emails.

We won. They have apologised. I win my weight in veuve clicquot. Now we under no circumstances gloat. They are putting up a full apology on nbr. So say nothing till it goes up. Now we have a party for charity to organise. And thanks everyone. NBR themselves are putting up the veuve.

That was the first anyone had heard about a so called charity function. The equally spongy soft Farrar likewise thought gloating wasn’t in order. Screw that, this was a massive hit against the big boys and the really big were going soft. Trying to stay good with Barry Colman. Like good little troughers suckling at the trough they didn’t want to bite the hands that feed them.

Well, the legal attache and the enforcer of the VRWC had two words to say about charity, especially as Colman was a tight-arse and only coughed 58 bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

I called for a vote to evict Busted Blonde from the VRWC because she was now fawning all over Barry Colman, even begging me to remove the image of a Veuve Clicquot bottle jammed p someones arse. My answer was that I wasn’t playing her game, I never was. she was now off on a tangent far removed from the piss up of wankers in Frank Kitts lagoon. She doesn’t want to raise money for charity, she wants to make herself look good and to create her own “legend”. The fact is that without Dpf, me or Cactus plus the other heavy hitters of the VRWC she would never have made it across the line and would have settled for what she got in the first place, a stink magnum of the vile Veuve Clicquot.

I waited for the thanks to arrive too. And waited. And waited. None, not even one little bottle was forthcoming. Neither was an invitation to the pissup. The reason apparently was “her integrity” would be at risk. Right…let’s examine that shall we….an anonymous blogger who likes to brag about her posts on Facebook, so isn’t so anonymous, who got in trouble at her job for blogging so retired the character only to revitalise the lifeless corpse for a compeition to win piss, all the time still blogging under the new blogname of Brunette, in the same style as Busted Blonde, still posting the posts to Facebook and all the time pretending they aren’t the same person. Hmmmm….how is that integrity holding up…..straining as much as the elastic on her panties one would suspect.

Once I started pointing out that 60 bottles of low-class Veuve Clicquot would be hoovered up in about 60 seconds by all her leeching media mates in Wellington, who would refuse to attend said charity function unless they had a freebie and starte to also work out that the fat slapper was mouthing of around Wellington what a great job she did in winning the competition I hit the roof. Hel Cactus Kate and I drank 10 bottles of champagnes election night 2008 between us. How long does Busted Blonde think 60 bottles are going to last once Sean Plunket and the other media heavy weights hoe into it. nd how long did she think her pretense of anonymity was going to last at her public sector trough job once she started promoting a failure of a charity event.

The problem Busted Blonde has is this, she caved when put under pressure, she craves the limelight but her job precludes it, which was why we got the gay V3 cartoon image of a blonde several hundred kilos lighter than the real thing, and she promised literally hundreds of people a party which she now wants to charge us all to attend.

My idea of dropping the pallet of piss down in front of the City Mission and watching chaos and mayhem ensue and video it all for Youtube holds more apeal than sharing a third of a glass of champagne with people I can’t stand. Well screw her and her non-thanks, and screw her and her stupid idea of a charity function. Next thing she will be wanting to raise money for the uninsured of Christchurch.

I almost wish “Liar” Joe Holden had won, at least he would have had a piss up.

I have a new policy in place now that stands for all the fuckwits that I have helped without a word of thanks, its called the Fuck You policy. I can and will go postal on you when I get the chance, think of it as my way of saying fuck you very much. I will no longer be taken for granted.

De-friending and de-linking policy is in force. FFS sake everyone, except Busted Blonde/Brunette knows not to piss on the Whale. She must be stupid, but then that is probably why she works for a government department.

The Evolution of Political Advertising

I am constantly impressed with the standard of political advertising in the US. Their attack ads are superb, and there are none better than those by Ladd Ehlinger Jr.

Ladd Ehlinger Jr. jokes that he’s only shot campaign ads for three people, and he’s managed to get two of them named “worst person in the world” by left-wing MSNBC talk-show host Keith Olbermann.

But even while bestowing Alabama agriculture commissioner candidate Dale Peterson with the dishonor, Olbermann seems to get the joke.

“You can tell, you can look at Olbermann and you can tell, he’s trying to look angry but he’s having a really hard time doing it,” Ehlinger said while laughing in an interview with The Daily Caller.

And that — the over-the-top theatrics, the caricature, and the fact that you’re never quite sure how seriously to take Peterson, because you can’t tell how seriously he’s taking himself — is the whole point, says the 41-year-old filmmaker.

“On television, you’re buying lazy people who are too fat to hit the mute button during commercials,” Ehlinger said. “On the internet, nobody has to watch your stupid ad. You have to come up with something interesting and entertaining for them to look at.”

It’s a potent strategy. Collectively, the spots Ehlinger has created have reached more than a million viewers on YouTube and have been replayed on cable news shows, reaching millions more.

His ads are very hard hitting. Here is my favourite.

His Les Philip ad, “A Story of Two Men” is now famous, especially for it’s ending.

He has two main strategies for preparing the ads.

That the ads have alienated a few people along the way is part of the point. Ehlinger calls one of his strategies the “brier patch.”

“The idea is that you state a position that you know is not going to be popular to everybody,” he said. “You state a position that you know is going to get some people upset — specifically so the other side that agrees with you will come to your defense.”

Ehlinger calls his other tactic the “Nazareth strategy,” coined in reference to the Biblical verse in which Nathaniel doubts Jesus by asking, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

“I guess what it means is you are more impressed with someone who is a success outside of your hometown,” Ehlinger said.

In other words, as soon as a homegrown candidate shows up on national TV, his standing jumps in the eyes of locals. An appearance on Fox News can be huge for a grassroots campaign.

WATCH THE FIRST DALE PETERSON AD

“You have to realize they’re all underdog candidates,” Ehlinger said.

His ads are very effective, they can literally turn around a campaign. In one run-off his candidate lagged 20 points and was being out-spent by his opponent.

Barber, a Tea Party favorite, helped force GOP frontrunner Martha Roby into a runoff, but still lagged by approximately 20 points in the June 1 primary.

“We ran our initial primary race on just hard, grassroots efforts — going door to door, driving a lot,” Barber said. “But we were still behind.”

With just over a month left before the runoff, Barber knew he could only shake so many hands in the 16-county district. His campaign was being outspent almost seven to one, too.

“In the primary my counterpart spent half a million dollars to my 75 thousand dollars,” Barber said.

What he needed, Barber explained, was to marry his message with the right director. Ehlinger was his man.

Once they connected, the production of the “Gather Your Armies” ad, from conception to final product, took about eight days.

That ad got major attention. Some of it distinctly negative.

Criticism of Barber has been much harsher than that of Phillip or Peterson. The campaign has received hate mail. Keith Olbermann, in a profanity-laced rant during the aforementioned “worst person in the world” segment, called the spot an “incitement of treason,” and announced his hope that Barber would be thrown in jail.

But the ad has had the intended effect, too, so much so that Barber cut a second spot.

Ehlinger has some sage advice for politicians that apply just as much in New Zealand as they do the USA.

It’s what he hopes to do for others, too. Ehlinger is mum on specifics, but says he is currently working with approximately four additional campaigns. The biggest problem, he says, is finding candidates that are willing to step out on a limb.

“A lot of politicians are boring. And you know, they play it safe,” Ehlinger said. “Mitt Romney’s not going to make a viral video, because he’s too blow-dried. So the main thing is to try to find politicians who aren’t sitting there with memorized talking points.”

And that’s exactly Ehlinger’s advice, for his own clients and for others — ditch the contrived storyline and stop pulling punches. A candidate can’t be everything to everyone, so maybe it’s time to stop pandering and take a stand.

“People respect you when you say what you believe,” Ehlinger said, “even if you’re saying something that a third of the electorate thinks is crazy.”

Too many politicians are tan, brown or taupe. Too afraid to stand for something because they might offend someone. Ultimately though you need to get elected to make a difference and that is the hardest part.