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In Defense of Rebecca Black – Friday

Published March 28, 2011 - 15 Comments

Chances are you may have heard of the latest YouTube sensation, Rebecca Black.  Rebecca’s self-produced song and video Friday has gone viral, currently sitting at almost 61.5 million views.  Yup, that’s right.  61.5 million.  Last night when I looked, it was just under 60 million.  It shows no signs of slowing down.

So let me just put this right out there  so there’s no confusion…  I do not like this song.  I do not think that it’s very good.  The lyrics are childish, and the singing is poor in my opinion.  Its immense popularity online is due to the fact that it’s not a good song.  Some have even labeled it the worst song ever.  I’m not sure if I agree with that, but it’s certainly a contender.  So that’s the bad.

Now here’s the good.

Rebecca Black is a 13 year old girl who had the guts to follow her creative instincts and make this video to be put online.  When I say that the lyrics are childish… well, they’re written by a junior high student… I’m sure that if I was a 13 year old girl, they would make perfect sense to me.  Maybe in a few years Rebecca will look back at this video and cringe, but right now… to her and her friends…  this is their life.

Whenever anyone puts something online, whether YouTube, a blog, or anything else… you open yourself up to attacks from people who you have never met.  I’ve experienced that to a certain degree with this blog, but that’s nothing compared to what this girl is receiving.  The comments are beyond critical… they’re downright mean, abusive and disgusting.  Many teenage girls (and boys, for that matter, but primarily girls) have enough self-esteem issues without total strangers telling them that they’re worthless, that they should develop an eating disorder, and to try cutting themselves… I’m not kidding.  You won’t have to read very far in the comments on YouTube before you see things that make your stomach turn.  It’s horrible, and disgusting, and I wish that YouTube would lock down the comment section.  That won’t stop people from bashing Rebecca and her song in other ways, but it’s better than reading that bullshit under her video.  Ask any of those idiots what they have done to contribute to society in a positive way, and good luck getting any sort of answer.   Rebecca certainly has a lot more going for her than anyone who thinks that it’s ok to tell a 13 year old girl to kill herself.  I don’t like the song, but there is a proper way to express that.  Millions of cyber-bully comments intent on destroying her as a person… It makes me sick.

To her credit, Rebecca seems to be handling her dubious “fame” relatively well… but admitted that she cried when she read some of the comments.  No shit.  I was fighting a whole wave of emotions when I read some of them… I’d love to have a couple of minutes alone with the people who wrote those things.  As a parent of a little girl who is only a few years younger than Rebecca I know that it’s not possible to protect her from everything…  but that just makes my blood boil…

And as much as I’m not a fan of this song… once you hear it, it’s kinda hard not to get that “It’s Friday… Friday… Friday…” out of your head!

I wish Rebecca Black much success… just please… not as a singer…

Product Review: Loving My New Dlink Boxee Box!

Published March 17, 2011 - 0 Comments

Boxee Box is a beautiful thing.

Update 16 Oct 2012: Because of Boxee’s sudden lack of updates and support, I can no longer recommend Boxee Box with as much enthusiasm as I did when this blog post was written.  Technically my Boxee Box still works very well… but… it seems like an abandoned product now… hard to recommend people spend money on this.

I don’t have cable.  I don’t even have rabbit ears… well, that’s not entirely true.  I do have rabbit ears, but they don’t seem to work very well with my Dynex 40″ LCD TV.  Those same rabbit ears will work perfectly when attached to an older TV, but with the Dynex they’re useless.


Everything that I watch now comes from the internet, either downloaded as torrents, or streamed from the television networks.  There aren’t too many times that I wish I could watch live TV, and when that does happen, I pull out the old TV and watch whatever it is on the rabbit ears.


I’ve tried numerous methods of getting my downloaded content to play through to the LCD TV.  The XBox 360 was my preferred method until Microsoft did a software upgrade that couldn’t install completely due to the lack of a hard drive on my console.  Rather than revert back to whatever version it had been running, the XBox 360 seemed to go its default configuration.  That default does not play DivX movies, and any time I tried to upgrade the software, it refused because the onboard drive is full.  I don’t play games, so there shouldn’t have been anything taking up space on the drive, but the onboard drive is so pathetically small that whatever software updates had been downloaded from Microsoft filled it to capacity.  Essentially my XBox was now an expensive brick unless I was willing to go purchase a hard drive.  Add to that, I was less than pleased with the wireless adapter that I purchased earlier… it seemed that the XBox option was becoming increasingly more expensive and not worth it.  The final straw was that Netflix claims to  be able to stream through a XBox 360… but when I signed up for Netflix at $8/month I quickly discovered that it requires a Microsoft Live Gold account for the XBox 360 to be able to stream.  I wasn’t about to give Microsoft more money, especially for a service that I wasn’t going to be using for anything other than streaming content from a third party.  I considered cancelling my Netflix account, but at $8 it really is a nice service.. especially when you consider that it can stream up to 6 devices, so my kids are each able to watch shows on their netbooks, while I can watch on my iMac, iPhone, and (eventually) the LCD TV in the living room.

More than one person suggested looking at a Sony PS3, which is supposed to be a fantastic media server.  I was considering it, and then I read about a little company called Boxee.  They have been operating in the United States for a little while, and have recently expanded into Canada.  I started to read more about them, and sent out a request for feedback from my Twitter followers.  I received some great responses from them, and decided that the Boxee Box from DLink was worth it.  The cost was $200, but if it worked as well as I was hoping it would, this would be the solution to all my problems.


Boxee automatically adds TV show information including a picture.

The Boxee Box looks exactly like it sounds… it’s a black cube that sits near your TV and acts as a bridge for any multimedia content that you want to consume.  Unlike most media servers that try to hide themselves, Boxee Box wants to be noticed!   One of the corners is cut, forcing the unit to sit at an angle.  It has USB ports to plug in external hard drives or memory sticks, as well as an ethernet port and built-in wireless to connect to any shared folders on your network.  Setting up the Boxee Box takes about 10 minutes, and then the fun begins.  Once you tell it where your media is, it scans the network and creates a list of movies, tv shows, and music.  It is also capable of displaying your pictures, but I don’t believe that it scans for those; you have to add those manually.

There are a few really great things about Boxee:

  • It plays anything you throw at it.  I have yet to find a file format that will not play, so no re-encoding anything.
  • It comes with built-in apps for things like Netflix, YouTube, Vevo, Revision3, and more!
  • The flipside of the remote control has a full QWERTY keyboard to enter data rather than hunting and pecking on a virtual keyboard displayed on the TV.
  • There is a free downloadable iPhone app, so you can use your iPhone to control Boxee.
  • Boxee fills in gaps of your TV shows automatically, if they are available from the TV network.  These are streamed from the internet, and not your local network.
  • You can add a “Watch Later” button to your computer’s browser that allows you to quickly bookmark online content (ie YouTube) and watch it later on your TV.
  • Boxee can link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to show videos that your friends have shared through those social networking sites.



As great as it is, Boxee isn’t perfect.  I initially had some problems with my remote control seemingly losing connection to the box.  When that happened, I turned to my iPhone to control Boxee, but not everyone has that option.  The remote control problem appears to have fixed itself.  No idea what caused it.  Boxee also isn’t always the greatest at cataloguing the content it scans.  I have hundreds of “unidentified files” that I can play by going into the File Browser, but it hasn’t picked them up as being movies or TV shows.  Boxee also appears to be quite slow when launching new content, but it’s less Boxee’s fault and more the network it’s running on.  If it’s playing content from a hard drive directly attached through the USB connection, it’s fine.  If it’s playing a movie across the wireless network, it can be painfully slow starting.  Once it achieves enough of a buffer, it begins playback.  That’s normal for any media player connected wirelessly, but it certainly is painful when you click something, and wait and wait…  and good luck trying to skip to another part of the movie.  I’ve found this does not work well.  I’ve also noticed that when you stop a movie and try to resume it later, it may give you the option to resume, but when you select that, it starts at the beginning again.  That’s probably my biggest annoyance with Boxee at the moment.

The US version comes with different apps than the Canadian one.


Because content rights differ between countries, the apps that come installed on Boxee in the United States are going to be different than the ones in Canada.  As more agreements are struck with content providers, Boxee is able to update software on the unit automatically.  A perfect example is music video site Vevo which was only recently added to Boxee.  I’m sure as time goes on, I will start to see even more content listed when I sit down to watch TV.  And more content is always a good thing!

All in all, I’m quite pleased with my Boxee Box.

I’d love to hear from other Boxee users about their experiences


Hilarious British Animal Voiceovers

Published December 19, 2010 - 4 Comments

My Mum sent this to me last week, and I laughed so hard I almost cried.  I tweeted the original link, but when I went to go find it again, it had been removed from YouTube by whoever had first posted it.  Didn’t take me long to find it again.  I figured that I would post it here, because it truly is hilarious!  Thanks Mum!

If You Have to Sit Through an Advertisment at a Movie… Might as Well be a Good One!

Published June 17, 2010 - 4 Comments

I can’t stand the fact that I have to watch ads when I go to see a movie in the theatre!  I pay $9.99 just to see the movie, another $13.49 for some overly-salted popcorn, medium watered-down Coke, and a bag of Skittles… and I STILL have to sit through commercials before the show starts!? And it’s never just one or two… no, Iron Man 2 showed five advertisements before it started!  Five of them!  Granted, the last one was that adorable Telus hippopotamus who swam around and smiled, while reminding everyone to turn off their cellphones.  I don’t mind him at all.  In fact, I see that he has his very own Facebook page, with way more friends than I will ever hope to have.  I’m so jealous of the Telus Hippo.

But I digress…

The commercials at these movies are generally ones that have appeared on TV before, which only bothers me even more!  Why not come up with something special?

Well, I don’t know where they got this advertisement for Old Spice, but it’s hilarious!  I’m sure that this has probably been on TV, but I just haven’t seen it, since most of my TV viewing is done online nowadays.  I was quite literally laughing out loud, as were many other people in the theatre.  I talked about it afterward with my buddy who was there to watch the movie with me.  He loved it too.  “I wonder how many ‘takes’ it took to get that right?” , he thought.  I have no idea, but it’s so smooth…  makes me want to run out and buy some Old Spice!

Oh, I see that it was uploaded to YouTube 4 months ago, so it’s not new.  But that’s ok… if you’ve seen it before, well, enjoy it again!

“Look at your man, now back to me, now back to your man, now back to me.  Sadly, he isn’t me.”

“I’m on a horse.”

Love it!  🙂