Archive for July 2013

The thing about DRM You Should Know   Leave a comment

When we talk about Bootleg Media and Pirated Movies or Music this usually comes to mind:

Or this:

Times have certainly changed.

As you may be aware Movie, Music, Software and Video Game companies have been taking agressive steps over the last 14 years to combat the piracy of their products. At the close of the last century, when you talked about Pirating Music this website came to mind:

For those who don’t know their Internet History, Napster was the first and most popular Filesharing King. That was before the service and Napster Founder Sean Parker–then considered the Robin Hood of the Industry by Napster supporters–were taken down by the RIAA (Record Inudstry Association of America), which was originally formed specifically to shut down Napster and the copycat filesharing serrvices it spawned. Of course, in the years since then Napster came back as an online music store.

Even so, the internet has since been feeling the effects of the revolution Napster ignited before they want legit. Copycat filesharing services like Limewire, eMule, Etomi Pro and Kazza stepped in to fill the massive void created whe Napster was taken down. Given several million people worldwide engage in filesharing worldwide, it’s clear threats of multimillion dollar fines and 100-year prison sentences from the RIAA aren’t enough to discourage the people who do it.

That isn’t to say companies aren’t getting with the times and offering services similar to the filesharing programs to give people more control over how they can get their mits on their favorite media. Before I continue, first let me refer you to a couple of You Tube videos on the subject of DRM (Digital Rights Management).

Of course this one specifically targets people who upload copyrighted material to You Tube despite the fact 90% of time the uploaded media is covered by Fair Use or would otherwise be considered a Derrivative Work.

…And this one is pretty self-explanatory =D

Here is the text he pasted in the video:

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

Again: 90% of what people upload to You Tube is covered by Fair Use. The link above goes into more detail.

Now here is DRM explained:

VERY recently DRM was front and center when Microsoft unveiled its Xbox One game system. The next-gen console, which is going to be released later this year was originally going to have strict anti-piracy systems in place–at the expense of the consumer. Read this blog I wrote before Microsoft backpedaled after the public uproar.

Speaking for myself, I support a company’s right to protect their product from theft. What I have a problem with is cases like SimCity 2013 in which you don’t actually own the game you paid for and instead you paid $60 for a client to stream the game on your computer. While I buy the reasons Maxis explained for this at the core, it’s because of DRM they released the game the way they did.

 

Sony Music is easily one of, if not the worst offender when it comes to DRM: In 2009 it was revealed Sony been embedding spyware and trackware on physical music CDs. Spyware and Trackware are both programs used to monitor the computers they’re install on, usually for malicious purposes. Sony’s explaination for the spying? To scan the hard drives of customers for pirated music. That’s their explaination but that could and usually does lead to other things. Luckily it was discovered when it did or other companies would think it cool to do that. It’s not about weather someone has something to hide. It’s the principle as well as a blatant invasion of privacy. Someone going through your hard drive is no different from someone going through your bedroom.

 

Contrary to a long standing popular belief, when you buy a physical or digial media (Movie, Song, game, etc.) you don’t actually own it. Your purchase is simply you buying the license to use the media for personal, commercial or private use depending on the license. For example you don’t actually own your copy of The Departed. You simply have legal permission to watch it however you want whenever you want but only if the audience is 50 people or less and you don’t charge people to watch the movie. Both would legally be considered theft. Even movie theaters have to pay a licensing fee (distribution). NO ONE is exempt.

Now that I’ve no doubt half-scared some of you or made another chunk of you a little paranoid, DRM does work both ways. You are entitled to certain rights as the licensee or to say that in plain English; The person who bought the movie or album.

  • Your purchase should work as advertised or you are entitled to a refund or similar compensation.
  • You are protected from prosecution as long as you do not try to profit from the media in some way.

Some companies have been going above and beyond what’s expected of them to support their consumers:

  • Apple’s iCloud is easily the best: Once you buy a movie or song you more or less “own” it forever. You can download it to as many authorized devices as you want without restriction at no additional cost. Got a new computer? You can download ALL of your iTunes purchases with a single click on your new one.
  • Xbox Live (XBL) and The Playstation Network (PSN) come in second with theirs. Once you buy a game, movie or TV Episode you can immediately download it to your console or PC (If you use Media Go or Zune) or just stream it if you prefer. Once it’s been downloaded you can use it as much as you want even if the title is no longer available for purchase later. The drawback to both XBL and the PSN is your license only grants you 5 downloads so if you use up all of those downloads you’ll need to make a new account to get it again. I was lucky when I got my desktop 3 years ago and was able to convince Microsoft to give me a full refund in Microsoft Points of purchases I couldn’t transfer to my new computer. A good $215 worth of media.
  • Amazon and Netflix both offer Streaming in addition to physical movies. Amazon has a streaming App for Apple, Android and Microsoft Products that you can use to enjoy your music and movies without even having to download them. The Netflix Client can be used on everything under the sun including the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita so…yeah.

And of course when you buy Blu-Ray Movies you usually get three copies: The Blu-Ray version, a Standard Definition Version (Regular DVD) and a digital copy. These days, many software companies require online registration to use their products. Some of you might remember this blog I wrote for Microsoft Office 2013. This is obviously Microsoft’s way of protecting its product from being pirated but as I said in that blog, I use Open Source alternatives to MS Office.

All in all, if you’re going to use DRM it shouldn’t infringe on the rights of the honest people who make up the majority of people who consume media. On the other hand there are times when piracy can and does actually help companies by telling them what consumers want. Just look at Napster and iTunes. iTunes exists because of Napster. The same can be said for Megaupload, Box.net and the Cloud services that have popped up in recent years. For the video game industry it’s because of Steam all of the console makers give gamers the option of downloading full games directly to their consoles, cutting out need to get a physical copy.

Think what you want about it but for all intents and purposes, if it wasn’t for Napster online stores as we know them probably wouldn’t exist.

Where is the Outrage?   Leave a comment

Here’s CNN’s Article: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/29/justice/child-prostitution-arrests/index.html?hpt=us_c2

And Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/29/fbi-rescues-at-least-105-child-prostitutes-in-nationwide-undercover-operation/?test=latestnews

And NBC News (Formerly MSNBC): http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/29/19754475-more-than-100-teens-rescued-in-weekend-sex-trafficking-raids-fbi-says?lite

Here are some facts on Human Trafficking in America from a few websites I found:

Random History: http://facts.randomhistory.com/human-trafficking-facts.html

Crisis Aid (PDF plugin required to view): http://www.crisisaid.org/ICAPDF/Trafficking/traffickstats.pdf

FBI.gov: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

Human Traffickinged: http://www.humantraffickinged.com/

The Covering House: http://thecoveringhouse.org/act/resources-2/sex-trafficking-statistics-source-documentation/

Again I must ask: Where’s the Outrage?

We spend almost a month talking about the fallout from the Zimmerman Trial but this takes more precidence. What happened to those three women in Cleveland was just ONE instance. Statistically speaking, there are more enslaved people in worldwide today than any other time in human history. Human trafficking is a $40 Billion Industry worldwide of which $9.5 Billion is in the U.S. The U.S. Government is aggressively tackling this problem head-on while sites like Perverted Justice exposes Traffickers and loopholes in state laws that traffickers exploit.

When you hear about situations like what happened in Cleveland, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dougard you think “That’s terrible, I’m glad they were found and the bad guys were taken off the street.” The problem is there are hundreds if not thousands more we just don’t know about. I will admit that most of the time it’s hard to identify to the untrained eye but here are a couple of tips you can use if you suspect someone in your neighborhood might be holding someone against their will:

  • Know your Neighbors. This is the most direct method.  Start with your building, then your side of the street then the other side and then the next street over and so on.
  • If you observe out of the ordinary activity or sounds coming from a neighbor’s house make a record of what you see and hear. If you’re comfortable with the neighbor, talk to them about it. If not, talk to a friend of the neighbor about it.
  • Don’t assume something is wrong if a neighbor is wary of visitors entering their house/apartment. Not everyone has an “Open Door” Policy, nor do you need to know why.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR GUT INSINCT but do not over react. If it’s a nagging feeling that something is definitely wrong call the police.

With all of these I’m not telling you to spy on your neighbors. Just know the people living around you. For those who don’t know what an Open Door Policy is, it basically means friends of the family are wecome anytime into the home. In urban places for example most people exercise a “Seige Mentality”: Everyone keeps to themselves and keeps interactions with neighbors to a minimum. The criminal in Cleveland who held 3 women hostage for 10 years (no, I won’t say his name but I do know it) got away with it for as long as he did because he knew his neighbors wouldn’t go inside his house.

I think this proves that in urban neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, Dorchester and South Central we can no longer be ignorant of the neighborhoods we live in. I feel more than a little uncomfortable with the very idea there could be someone in my neighborhood chained to a bed or radiator stripped of their basic human rights.

 

My Fellow Americans: There is no Free Speech on the Internet   Leave a comment

…Unless you own the domain that is.

This is something I feel the need to point out since some people really do believe because they are Americans using an American owned or based website the standard rules of ediquette and common sense don’t apply. This is a broad subject to talk about so what I will do here is hopefully break through the surface.

Let’s start with when you register to a site or message board for the first time. How many of you actually bother to read a website’s Terms of Use? Usually looks something like this:

Definitions:

User: A registered or unregistered person accessing a page on ZetaBoards.
Account: A set of data tied to a username created after a user has registered on a forum.
Content: Posts, messages, links, email, uploaded files, usernames, or any other user created data.
Service: A message board (forum) provided by ZetaBoards.

All references to “you” or “your” refer to the person who accepts these Terms of Use.

1 Accepting the Terms of Use:

By visiting or using any page on ZetaBoards, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions at all times and to any changes made to these terms thereafter. Unauthorized users under the age of thirteen (13) will have their accounts deleted without notice upon discovery.

2 The Service:

ZetaBoards is provided as-is with no guarantees for fitness for a particular use, usability, or availability. You agree that ZetaBoards may add or change service limitations at any time, with or without notice.

3 Content:

Users are responsible for any Content transmitted to an ZetaBoards server. ZetaBoards does not guarantee the accuracy, legitimacy, quality, or integrity of any Content. ZetaBoards does not guarantee that Content will be protected from loss, deletion, removal, or damage. The Service is not intended to store vital or irreplaceable data.

3.1 Prohibited Content:

Users may not post, upload, link to, or email any Content that contains, promotes, gives instruction about, or provides prohibited Content. Prohibited Content includes any Content that breaks any local, state, county, national or international law. Prohibited Content also includes:

  1. Content that infringes upon any rights (including, but not limited to, copyrights and trademarks)
  2. Abusive, threatening, defamatory, racist, or obscene Content
  3. Viruses or any other harmful computer software
  4. False information or libel
  5. Spam, chain letters, or pyramid schemes
  6. Gambling or Illicit drugs
  7. Terrorism
  8. Hacking or cheating for internet/online games
  9. Warez, Roms, CD-Keys, Cracks, Passwords, or Serial Numbers
  10. Pornography, nudity, or sexual material of any kind
  11. Excessive profanity
  12. Content that is invasive of privacy or impersonation of any person/entity
  13. Hacking materials or information.

Repeat copyright infringers will have access to ZetaBoards terminated.

3.2 Limited Content:

  1. Prohibited Content may not be transmitted to an ZetaBoards server
  2. The format, quantity, and size of uploaded files and posts may be limited.

3.3 Content Screening:

ZetaBoards does not preview any Content transmitted but reserves the right to check any forum for prohibited content ZetaBoards has the right to access any forum and its related Content and delete, edit, or restrict access to any Content. You agree that ZetaBoards may disclose any Content to:

  1. Fulfill what is required by law or is needed to comply with legal processes
  2. To prove a violation of these terms
  3. To protect the rights (including copyrights), property, or personal safety of anyone

You understand and agree that any Content posted on ZetaBoards is the responsibility of the person who posted the Content and the forum creator. You agree that ZetaBoards is not responsible for and does not control or endorse Content posted to the Service or available through the Service. You agree that you will bear any and all risk of reliance on the accuracy, validity or legitimacy of Content viewed on ZetaBoards. ZetaBoards is not responsible for any problems that may occur from reading, distributing, acting on, or using Content posted on ZetaBoards.

3.4 Rights to Posted Content:

Any content uploaded or posted to ZetaBoards may be displayed on a forum by ZetaBoards. You grant ZetaBoards the right to display and store the Content you provide.

4 Prohibited Behavior:

  • Users may not interfere with ZetaBoards’ servers or software.
  • Users may not attempt to access any restricted area that they do not have access to: this includes private forums, password protected forums, accounts of ZetaBoards staff or other members, Control Panels, or any forum’s Admin CP.
  • Users may not post harmful or disruptive html/javascript.
  • Users may not reproduce, distribute, or publish Content posted by other users without the prior permission of the owner.
  • Excessive hotlinking by sites not located on an ZetaBoards server of images hosted by ZetaBoards is prohibited.
  • Users may not hotlink images from other websites without proper permission.
  • You may not abuse the report system by sending in false reports or flooding the system with duplicate reports.
  • You may not abuse the support ticket system by flooding the system with tickets.

5 Enforcement of Terms of Use:

ZetaBoards may edit, delete, or restrict access to any Content/account/forum or services as enforcement of the Terms of Use.

6 Termination of the Service:

You agree that ZetaBoards may delete any forum owned by you and/or your account or content on any ZetaBoards forum. ZetaBoards may ban your email address, username, IP Address or remove/change any Content from any forum or from your account, without notice or compensation. Your account or forum may be deleted for any violation of the ZetaBoards Terms of Use or for any reason deemed necessary. ZetaBoards may not explain why your account/forum/Content was deleted or edited.

7 Disclaimer of Warranties:

You agree and understand that:

  1. Your use of any ZetaBoards service is at your own risk. ZetaBoards is provided as-is. ZetaBoards disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, fitness for a particular purpose
  2. ZetaBoards makes no warranty that:Any Content obtained through the use of ZetaBoards is used solely at your own risk and only you will be responsible for any damage that results from obtaining, following, or using any Content.
    1. The Service will fit your needs and requirements
    2. The Service will be secure, error-free or uninterrupted
    3. The information acquired by using ZetaBoards will be accurate

8 Limitation of Liability:

You understand and agree that ZetaBoards will not be liable for any damages, direct or indirect, resulting from use and/or inability to use the Service.

9 Exclusions And Limitations:

Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties or liability for damages so some of Section eight (8) may not apply to you. However, you use ZetaBoards’ Service at your own risk.

10 Legal Disputes:

These Terms of Use and your account with ZetaBoards will be over-seen by the laws of The United States of America. You agree that these Terms of Use are under the jurisdiction of the State of Maryland. You agree any legal filings or lawsuits must be filed in the State of Maryland.

11 Modification of the Terms of Use:

ZetaBoards reserves the right to change these terms at any time. All changes will be effective at the time they are posted. Your continued use of ZetaBoards will constitute your acceptance of any modifications made.

12 Enforcing the Terms of Use:

ZetaBoards’ failure to enforce any part of these Terms of Use will not be seen as a waiver of any term or condition for any user.

13 User Disputes:

You alone are responsible for your interactions with other users of the Service. ZetaBoards reserves the right but is not obligated to mediate or solve disputes between you and other users of the Service.

ZETABOARDS GIVES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, FOR THE SERVICES PROVIDED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY AND WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE.

You agree to indemnify and hold ZetaBoards and its subsidiaries, affiliates, volunteers, and employees harmless from any demand made by anyone due to the Content you post to the Service, your use of the Service, or your violation of any law or these Terms of Use. Any claim arising out of or related to use of the Service or the Terms of Use must be filed within one (1) year after the cause arose or be forever barred.

These terms were last modified on January 25th, 2010.

…Alot of jargon, yes?

You DO know this is a contract, right? A binding one, too. Basically when you click “I AGREE” you’re agreeing to give up certain aspects of free speech. Note the parts I underlined in particular. Even though I’m the one who created the forum I am held to the same standard as everyone else. While yeah Zetaboards and its parent company Invisionfree give Admins ALOT of freedom in terms of the types of content they can get away with, we have non-negotiables of our own we agreed to when we made our boards.

You might be annoyed with some websites that don’t post user-submitted content right away but there are reasons for that. In most cases it’s to ensure the content doesn’t violate the site’s terms of use. If the human moderator reviewing the content finds a violation it will never see the light of day.

The trend of social media is giving users the ability to decide what they want to be exposed to. What most people don’t realize is this works both ways. While Facebook, Xanga, MySpace, WordPress and Live Journal (and other sites) work hard to keep hate and terrorist groups and like-minded people off their sites some do slip through their filters.  Almost 24 hours ago I saw a message I considered offensive to Jews and Christians posted on my Facebook Timeline. I not only deleted the message but I blocked and de-friended the person who posted it. In this way I do not violate his right to post things people on his friends list might agree with while not exposing myself to information I deem harmful.

So don’t go posting online thinking it’s the Wild Wild West of 20 years ago. Times have changed.

My Opinion of the Zimmerman Verdict and the Reactions to it   Leave a comment

Recorded last night directly via You Tube. Thie video is obviously not HD Quality.

In regards to the outcome of the trial, all I can say is the jury has spoken. Do I agree with with the verdict? No, but not for the main reason as all my friends and family don’t. See, the crazy thing about the whole race thing I mentioned in my video is George Zimmerman technically isn’t “white”. Therefore the whole white on black arguement being thrown around doesn’t apply in this particular case. The real problem with this case is the Stand Your Ground Law, which was used as the basis for Zimmerman’s defense.

As many legal analysts pointed out, the prosecution made alot of mistakes during the trial. In the end, they failed to impress the jury beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of anything. Ergo the fault ultimately belongs to the prosecution for failing to convince the Jury. Should a member of the jury make a statement to the media you can expect them to say something to that effect.

One thing even I can’t ignore is the fact that I’m an African American man. I usually avoid race relation topics like the plague and am reluctantly commenting on it in this particular instance. Look, I know the history and I know racism is still a largely overlooked problem in America. Even I can’t deny this fact. Now, have I ever felt I was mistreated because of my race or percieved race? Nope. Gender or character yes but race specifically, no.

Let me say again I don’t believe the race of the deceased and the perceived race of the defendant in the trial were a factor in the outcome. On the other hand I believe the legal system is America has been twisted in such a way any African American who goes through it has a very low chance of getting a fair trial. It’s an established FACT that has gone largely unaddressed over the last 40 years. The NAACP has already said it is going to look into filing Civil Rights charges against Zimmerman and/or the state of Florida. It was actually in the process of filing charges in a somewhat related Stand Your Ground trial but held off pending outcome of the Zimmerman case. All I can say to that is I hope they win.

Let me go back to the whole racial divide thing people with my mostly skin color or darker with less self-control have been preaching about for the last 18-ish months. On the one hand there is some truth in what they’re saying. Black people know to avoid certain areas either entirely or after dark. I’m probably the only African American in the city of Boston not afraid to walk through South Boston at 10:00PM.

On the other hand, perception is everything. If you carry yourself a certain way you should expect to be treated a certain way.

I’ll use myself as an example. I hate baggy clothes. The stereotype that goes with black guys wearing baggy clothes is the main reason you will NEVER see me wear ’em. EVER. I also don’t “talk black”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Anyone who’s read any of my stories on Fictionpress or Fanfiction.net or just read my blogs has a pretty good idea of how diverse my volcabulary is. I don’t let my word skills go to waste just because it’s mostly useless at work. I also don’t wear designer hip hop clothes. Again, the stereotypes. This made shopping when I was a kid easy for my parents: Unlike my brothers they didn’t have to spend alot of money on me. All I care is if it fits comfortably.

When I was in High School some people questioned my racial identity more than the biracial students because I didn’t make any effort to fit in with the black crowd. I didn’t make any effort to fit into any crowd actually but that’s what was seen.

All I can say to that is I know who I am and know where I came from. I know where I am now and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go moving forward. I won’t let things beyond my control prevent me from doing the things I want to do. It’s that simple. What I can control I will. What I can’t comtrol I’ll deal with when the time comes.

Once again I want to call on people everywhere to be peaceful.

I have two easy tips if you want to keep an outcome like this from happening again:

  1. DO NOT TRY GET OUT OF JURY DUTY. If you’re able to do it then do it.
  2. Educate yourself on the laws in your state/country. Many people chose to educate themselves. Why not you?

I’ll even throw out a link to Massachusetts General Laws for my fellow state citzens. Here’s one more link for the rest of the United States. If you live outside the U.S. all I can say is use Google to look it up for your country.

Most people are mad at the outcome simply because for all intents and purposes, an admitted killer was let off the hook. Ignore everything else and think about this: How would you feel if a member of your family was killed under similar circumstances and a jury decided the admitted killer was innocent?

THAT’S where the outrage comes from. This is a situation where the justice system failed and even worse, sets a dangerous precident:

  • If you’re black you DO NOT want to go to the corner store alone after dark.
  • Holding a bag of candy can get you killed.
  • Wearing a hoodie at night automatically means you’re up to no good.
  • Someone can shoot you on the grounds of self-defense in Florida.
  • Because you’re a black youth your life means less.

As many of you know I work in education. I worked in a middle school classroom when Trayvon Martin was killed last year. Some of those students are going to high school this coming school year. All they see from this is an unarmed black boy was killed and the shooter got away with it. To them, this (the verdict) means no one really cares if they live or die. In a country where animals have more rights than people I honestly can’t say I blame them. In a country where people get shot or stabbed in urban areas every day in this country and there’s little to no outcry from the MEDIA I honestly can’t blame them.

There was a public outcry after the Boston Marathon Bombing. As many of my white co-workers said the following week, people get killed every week in this country and you don’t even hear about it. That isn’t to say the bombing wasn’t a tragedy. The fact is when you have the media focusing only on what they consider newsworthy this is why there is such litte regard for human life.

Life has meaning when you give it meaning.

I’m Brendan Aurabolt. I’m an Intelligent African American and proud of it.

Man of Steel: A Movie So Nice I’ve seen it Twice   Leave a comment

I saw it for the first time on June 20 at the AMC Theater on the Boston Common. I watched it again at Regal Theater (by the way Boston literally only has these two cinemas excluding Coolidge Corner, which exclusively shows Indie Films) down the street from Fenway Park this afternoon.

I first heard about the movie two years ago. All I knew at the time was Kevin Cosner (you may know him from The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston) was playing Johnathan Kent and not much else.

Then I saw this movie trailer on Xbox Live last January:

It’s one thing when you know Superman can break the sound barrier. It’s another thing entirely to actually see him do it.

Two things should be said for those who may want to see this movie either in theater or when it’s released on DVD/Blue Ray/iTunes/Xbox Live/Netflix/etc.:

  1. This movie is unrelated to the previous Superman Movies. Reportedly it’s just the first of several Superman movies to come.
  2. Also unlike the previous Superman movies, in Man of Steel Superman is portrayed as a man struggling to find his place in the world as well as figure out where his abilities came from.

The movie opens with Kal-El being born. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El, the father of Clark Kent/Kal-El. I can’t think of anyone else who personifies the wise yet resourceful scientist who took steps to ensure his son would not die with Krypton. When General Zod leads a coup against the Krytponian leadership Jor-El is forced to move his son’s escape plans faster than originally planned. Before Krypton is destroyed General Zod and his followers are banished to the Phantom Zone. 33 Years later the Kryptonian sent to Earth–Clark Kent–lives off the grid helping people in need everywhere he goes while searching for traces of his origins. After a fateful first encounter with Lois Lane in the Article Circle Clark finds an alien craft of Kryptonian origin. It is here Clark finds the answers to questions he’s had his entire life.

One thing Man of Steel took a page out of the original Superman movie (and Smallville too) is Jor-El’s interactions with Clark, Lois and Zod. By the time Clark has grown up Krypton has been gone for 33 years. Jor-El left a shadow of himself behind in the scout ship Clark finds to reveal his otherworldly heritage to him. One interesting part of Superman that has been speculated for decades is answered by Jor-El: The “S” symbol is Kryptonian for Hope.

When Zod threatens the Earth, Kal-El surrenders to the U.S. Military and the audience is treated to two funny moments that are my personal favorites. The first is the perp walk inside a military base. Superman is in handcuffs being led to an interrogation room flanked by a half dozen heavily armed soldiers. One does not simply handcuff Superman! The Man of Steel demonstrates the folly of handcuffing him a few minutes later he gets up and effortlessly pulls his hands apart, breaking the cuffs as if it were a toothpick.

I can’t say enough about how well done the storytelling was. The moments from Clark’s childhood you saw in the trailers? They’re splashed throughout to movie and add an emotional break or solice at just the right time. Man of Steel focuses more on Kal-El/Cark Kent dealing with trying to fit in on Earth despite his extraordinary abilities. He even has a bit of trouble flying for the first time. Even when it becomes obvious mankind’s fate rests on his shoulders he still has doubts.

If Superman sounds human that was the intent. In Man of Steel they got it right in terms of making Superman relatable in the present day. It’s a given Clark would rescue his classmates whose bus fell into a river but I’m sure he’d give pause to the notion of intervining in the political unrest going on in Egypt right now. He’d probably help with the brush fires wreaking havoc in America’s Southwest but wouldn’t get involved in the political squabbles in Washington.

One interesting thing I’ve seen thrown around on a few websites are the parellels between this Superman and Jesus. What’s controversial isn’t the similarities but the fact that the comparisons are being made between the Man of Steel and the Messiah. One example is the way Clark falls in a few scenes looks like Jesus on the cross. Another point brought up on the subject is Clark coming to terms with his powers and trying to figure out why he was brought to Earth and what his purpose is. Clark is able to do the impossible thanks to his Kryptonian heritage and has Jor-El says at the beginning he’ll be “A Savior” to the people of Earth. Starting to get it?

One thing I’ll end on is he is called Superman by name only once in the entire movie. After getting into it with Marines and two of Zod’s lieutenants in Smallville Clark earns the Marines’ trust and is affectionately codenamed “Superman”. You don’t hear the word again for the rest of the movie. It is also interesting to note for all intents and purposes the U.S. Government and The Daily Planet knows he is Clark Kent as well as Kal-El though this fact is downplayed over the course of the movie. The only people who really point this out more than once are Lois Lane and Martha Kent.

Overall I give this movie a 10/10. The only other movies I bothered to see more than once in theaters were This Is It (I have it on DVD and iTunes), The Last Airbender (I have it on iTunes and Xbox Live) and The Avengers (I have it on Xbox Live in HD), all of which I now own. I plan to see Man of Steel at least two more times this summer and yes I will be buying it in HD. Probably on Xbox Live as well as Blue Ray.

I leave you with the official Theme Song for Man of Steel:

…And yes, I bought the full song (Titled What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving The World? by Hans Zimmer) on iTunes.

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