Why I pirate movies and feel good about it

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now, and you have no idea how many times I’ve redone it, so here it goes:

Ever since the introduction of public (high-speed) internet there has been piracy: movies, games, tv shows, music, whatever, you name it. Nothing new here. I’ve been a “pirate” since we got cable internet since my early teens. Back then I had no money, no way of obtaining this material, and the good thing piracy has always brought with it, is exposure. There’s no way I would have had the same exposure to movies, games, tv and music if the concept of downloading it free off the internet didn’t exist. No way.

If we fast forward to today, I’ve solved my money issue, and Norway has and is becoming increasingly international. I’m guessing in a few years we won’t speak Norwegian anymore. We’ll speak in memes, abbrevations, and English. Ok, it’s not that bad, but it’s not a far fetched idea. To get back on track; Norway is following USA tightly in what media gets released, so the exposure problem is in some areas like movies and tv shows not an issue anymore.

Then why do I still download stuff off the internet for free? And how can I speak so freely about it?

To begin I’m not downloading as much today as I did back then. Just the other day I rented two movies from Xbox Video, which almost worked perfectly (small issues with the stream), so I am definitely moving in the right direction.

Wait up. It’s not really me who’s moving in the right direction. There are some in the industry that has slowly begun to realize how consumers want to consume their media. Today we have services like Spotify, Netflix, Xbox Video, Xbox Music, HBO, Viaplay, the list goes on, that provides unlimited access to content in exchange for a small amount withdrawn from your wallet each month. The only problem here is that they all vary in how much content they provide, so a small amount can quickly escalate to A LOT withdrawn each month.

Take me as an example. I use these services regularly and pay for it:

  • Spotify
  • Netflix
  • Xbox Video
  • Xbox Music

And I’m quite happy with giving my money; they are good services that provide plenty of content with a good user experience. That’s where the industry should put their focus and their money at. Thinking new, thinking ahead, think different!

The criterias I put forward for a service that suits me (and I’m guessing a lot of other people):

  • Needs to have a lot of content (good content is always preferable)
  • Needs to be able to deliver it to me instantly (streaming right?)
  • Needs to be ad-free (there’s nothing more disturbing than buying a movie and having to watch 10 trailers and the “YO fool, don’t steal shit”-movie before the menu appear)
  • Needs to be fairly priced
  • High quality

Based on that, I download stuff illegally when:

  • I can’t find what I’m looking for in the services I pay for
  • It’s not good enough quality
  • The only legal way is buying a hard copy. Ugh.
  • There’s no way I’ll be able to afford it in one years worth of salary

There’s probably a lot of other smaller reasons that will influence my decision to pirate or not. Like when the industry goes bat shit crazy and snuggles up with the government to try to impose a tax on our internet access due to lost income. Or when the government replies that they’re actually considering it. Come on guys, wake up.

In the end I feel good about it. I’ve set up rules and guidelines, and if the industry can’t please me as a consumer then I know the pirates will be able to.

(no calling the cops or lawyers, please 😉

Linux/Ubuntu: The problem of the line!

In my last post I went through the steps on how to set up a dual-monitor system in Linux the way you wanted to. I had my laptop on the left side of my main monitor and I couldn’t get it right with the ATI Catalyst Control Center so I had to resort to a script that utilized xrandr.

I mentioned in my last post that I experienced a little problem though, an annoying 1-2 pixel wide line that pushed the desktop on my main monitor to the right. I don’t know why but I figured out what seemed to have happened. It seems that the auto resolution on the laptop monitor caused it to extend onto the main display. The resolution which was set was 1366×758. I didn’t think it would do any good so I joked with the idea of setting the resolution down to 1360×758, and I did for fun and it magically fixed everything!

The only thing is that I don’t know why I had to do that, because the resolution I have on my laptop screen in Windows is 1366×758 and it works fine with dual monitors. It’s a strange world…

Linux & ATI: Making your second monitor the main display!

Hi all!

If you’ve followed my “Linux on my laptop” page you probably know of this problem. The ATI Catalyst Control Center won’t allow me to set my second monitor as my main display and let it extend onto the laptop screen which is positioned left of my 26″ monitor. After wiping my drive and making Ubuntu 10.10 : MAVERICK! my main operating system and getting the “good luck” from the Ubuntu IRC channel I started my quest to solve the problem. Turns out you can do it! The poster on the ubuntu forums had a nifty little script that after modifying solved my problem! The solution involves using xrandr to turn off the displays and then re-enable them with the proper settings.

xrandr –output LVDS –off;
xrandr –output DFP1 –off;
xrandr –output DFP1 –auto –primary;
xrandr –output LVDS –auto –left-of DFP1;

The two first commands there turns off LVDS (Laptop Display) and my 26″ monitor (DFP1). The last two sets DFP1 as the primary screen, and will auto extend the LVDS left of DFP1. This works like a charm except there’s one little bug I’m experiencing. I’ve got a 1 pixel wide line that runs right at the left edge of my 26″ monitor pushing the desktop 1 pixel to the right. It’s a little annoying at first but I hardly notice it now, although it still appears when running full screen video so I guess that can be a little annoying but it’s something I will work on getting rid of 🙂 There’s also one thing worth mentioning: I have to run the script every time I boot Ubuntu if I’m in a dual-monitor setup. For me that’s no problem, as either I’m at school with only my laptop display or I’m home running the system without rebooting until I have to shutdown for school.

At least it’s a step in the right direction! Hopefully one day it can be as simple to do as the new Screen preferences in Windows 7 🙂

Installing Windows 7 Professional x64 on Acer Aspire 5943G: Thank you Linux!

After waiting a couple of weeks now and watching my lovely laptop deteriorate everytime I turned it off and on again I finally burned Windows 7 Professional x64 edition on to a DVD download legally from MSDNAA (Thank you school!). A short visit to acer.com showed me I didn’t have to download any drivers so I went ahead with the install. Everything seemed right! Or so I thought…

Minutes later a fresh Windows 7 desktop was staring at me, but something was off. There was no network connection, a low resolution and generally things were missing. A quick look in the device manager revealed that I was missing all of the drivers I was told were going to be in Windows 7 by default. I panicked a little bit, because how on God’s earth would I be able to get my system up and running in time for the evening? And why was Acer lying to me about the driver?

My first attempt was to use my Samsung Galaxy S phone to download the necessary LAN driver but with no luck. Turns out the browser won’t allow me to download files that aren’t supported/associated by Android and the Acer support site doesn’t work properly on the Android device. I realized later that I’m a Linux fanboy/enthusiast and that I always keep a couple of distros laying around. My savior? Linux Mint. Booting up the Live CD allowed me to browse the net and download the LAN driver for Windows. That’s what I love about Linux distributions, they’ve got almost every driver in place for use. Of course there’s some devices that aren’t supported or need to download restricted drivers but yeah.. My savior was Linux Mint.

Turns out that Acer wasn’t lying to me. I just didn’t see the drop-down box showing me what version of Windows 7 I wanted at first, so it defaults to one of the  32-bit Home versions. So if you’re going to reinstall your operating system on an Acer laptop, be sure to check that you have the necessary drivers or have a Live CD with a Linux distribution at hand.