Yes, there is a reason that the title is written as a HTML tag (although its not a real on) to be explained later in this post all about, you guessed it, content and services. The main point in this post, based on a wide topic, will be the providers of the content and services in question: how they all hold us at ransom, all screw us in payment, all ridiculously priced and are all evil, with a few exceptions. By now, you will know that this post will be yet another fully fledged rant, and with good reason: my family are tech illiterate and what is understood as technical common sense, they lack, to the extent that my grandmother does not understand the concept of highlighting. So, as you may imagine, I have my work cut out with them, meaning I have a lot of stuff to vent.
So, with another introduction done with, lets progress to the good stuff.
By that, I mean all phone based stuff. Mobiles, landlines, mobile Internet and whatever else one can do with the “micro-cancer” air waves [oh damn, I am going to pay for that comment]. As said previously, mobile operators, and landline operators, screw us (not in that sense!). They make you pay for services you do not use, they over charge you and changing providers is not exactly easy! A mobile telephone is a necessity today, and the operators know it, so they can charge ridiculous amounts for the service, PLUS charging us loads for going over our allocated internet usage, when it should be unlimited. Here in the UK, they have capped our service as their lines are overcrowded! THAT’S NOT MY DAMN PROBLEM! I deserve unlimited for the price I pay; stop spending my cash on mansions and instead ramp up the network! Oh, and lets not forget those lovely roaming charges. Don’t we all just love roaming charges? I think its only fair that the operators can charge us hundreds to use our phone outside our home country. Very, very, VERY fair. £10.13 for 1MB of data in Europe, my God what a bargain (notice unbelievably strong use of irony)! We are being held at the mercy of the operators = a monopoly.
One rant down.
Moving on, Music labels. Those crooks. Yep, them. Remember when music used to be free? Well, you should not, as that was way over 100 years ago. People would, and still rarely do, sit around a person playing a guitar and singing. Music is a natural human instinct, so it’s kind of obvious that some clever people would copyright it and sell it on at a ridiculous price. Services like iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 stores have no choice but to agree to their terms, otherwise they will not have access to the treasure of melodies. An example: Apple wanted each song to be 70p, but now, due to pressure from labels, they are now £1! ONE WHOLE POUND FOR A SONG? Way, way, WAY too much!
On the theme of Apple, they recently had an unusually long downtime on their app store. Turns out it was to increase the price on apps! Each app is now on average 20p more expensive, the cheapest now being priced at 69p, up from 59p (+10p). The US pricing has not changed from€99, but €99 is equivalent to 60p, so Apple had no right to increase app pricing “based on current exchange rates”. Again, we are being held at ransom of company whims.
One more thing… as is Steve Jobs’s tradition at the Apple keynote events.
Consider the legacy of the Internet and what it stands for. It’s an open platform for anyone to do with it what one wants, within certain bounds, right? So, may I ask, do we pay for access to it? Why is it that an open platform needs payment to access? Look at a library. It’s a free source of information. Anyone, rich or poor, can get information. Why cannot the Internet be like that? Yes, yes, maintaining the network and blah, blah, blah. Just use taxes to do that. If one cuts out the middleman, then we will have a true network of networks, not just a network of ISPs.
Ok, now we have those “mini-rants” over and done with, let me explain the title of this post. A HTML tag requires an “opening” tag and a “closing” tag; the significance of this is that all these services are closed, where the word of the consumer hardly ever gets in. We spend thousands a year on these services, whether you know it or not, and we are all reliant on them to supply us with the modern technologies. I know that this system is unlikely to change any time soon, but it must change to let technologies evolve.
So, with that, let me close this post with a “closing” tag: