Monday, April 24, 2006

Netflix Sues Blockbuster Yet Still Shafts Customers

I find the whole lawsuit of Netflix vs. Blockbuster to be amusing, to say the least. For those of you who haven't heard, Netflix claims that they own the sole patent rights to the idea of creating a list of movies that you want to rent, then sending out the next title in your list after they receive the return of your previous disc.

Netflix sure waited a terribly long amount of time to press charges. I mean, Blockbuster has had their online service for almost a year now...where was Netflix back then to sue?

Although it's unlikely that Netflix has any chance of winning such a lawsuit, it does make me question a few other things in their operating procedures:

1. What's going to happen to companies such as Intelliflix? I happen to really like my service with them, as they actually leverage the inventories of independent video retailers across the United States to provide you with your movies. Does it take longer? Sure, sometimes. Can you always get the biggest hit movie as soon as it arrives? Nope, rarely in fact. However, I fell a helluva lot better about spending my money on somebody that supports the indie guy than some big corporate monstrosity such as my bastard former employers (Big Blue). Intelliflix, however, uses the same queue style as Netflix and Blockbuster Online. So will Netflix turn around and sue every single company out there that uses a queue format? So far, they haven't made any threats towards Intelliflix...is it just a matter of time, or was Blockbuster the biggest threat and target all along?

2. Why isn't Netflix suing Blockbuster for stealing their idea of throttling? I mean, it's pretty obvious that Blockbuster stole the idea of limiting existing customers from renting a lot of movies in favor of building new customers directly from Netflix. Why isn't Netflix upset about this? After all, they perfected throttling first, were the first to present it on their website...doesn't this just make Blockbuster a copycat thief who deserves to get sued for stealing another brilliant Netflix idea? Funny how Netflix isn't trying to build a case for THAT.

I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I'm off to add more movies to my Intelliflix queue.

Bear Attack vs. Matt Lauer

As I'm sure many people are aware, there was an attack by a black bear on a family who was out wandering around at a wilderness park in Tennessee.

I'm really not a heartless guy...honest. Ask any of the people who know me. However, I have to wonder at the news industry and the way that they have reported this story, particularly a recent interview that I caught on NBC's The Today Show with Matt Lauer and the family of those who were injured in the attack.

I think what bothered me the most about the way this story was presented by Lauer was that he acted as if the family had been attacked by some knife-wielding maniac in their bedroom in the middle of the night. At one point in the interview, he even said to the father "do you feel that by the recent capture of a black bear in that area that justice may finally be served for the attacks on your family?"

Uhhh....what? OK, first of all, let me reiterate....this black bear did not come wandering into their room at the local Days Inn. The PEOPLE were in the BEAR'S hood. So you know what, folks? Sorry you got attacked but you're asking to be some bear's idea of a picnic snack when you go playing around in something's backyard that has a heckuva lot more right to be on that land than you do. Just remember...people reallllly need those houses, roads and so forth that destroyed the bear's habitat and food supply in the first place, right? I mean hey...why should the white man limit himself to Native Americans when it comes to putting people/things with land rights somewhere out of their way?

The sad thing is that they killed a black bear to check its stomach contents to see if it had been the one that attacked. Of course, it wasn't the right bear. Justice indeed.

So what have we learned, Dorothy? Bears and other animals have no rights when humans come trotting up into the few acres that we've given them to live in. We should probably kill anything that MIGHT attack us, or perhaps expand our legal system to try animals for murder/attempted murder. Hire some Yellowstone ranger as counsel for the defense. Then, Matt Lauer can truly say that justice has been served.