Archive for the ‘Viral Videos’ Category

The latest Viral Dance Craze has divided the Internet   Leave a comment

I’m of course referring to The Nae Nae:

This one totally went over my head when I first heard about it in February. In fact, I had to ask my Facebook contacts about it the other day. Buzzfeed compiled everything you might wanna know here.

Then NECN featured this local principal doing the Nae Nae on the first day of school:

That said, I just emailed the principal of the Holmes School (where I will be working this school year) and asked her if she would be interested in doing it on Tuesday. If she agrees, I will post the video. Even if she declines, I plan to do it myself.

Getting back to the main topic, the song has divided the internet. On one side, you have those who love the song for the dance. On the other side, you have those who hate the song’s repetativeness, simplicity and lack of any substance despite being categorized as “Hip Hop”. That said, it definitely ISN’T music and was never meant to be “enjoyed” alone: All the song does is tell you what to do and nothing more. I rarely say this publicly but those who hate the song are haters or jealous haters who are just mad they never thought of comingup with the cash grab first. LOL.

Speaking of interactive songs, there was another song that came out about 15 years back that is still considered today one of, if not the greatest dance song ever thought of:

Yep, DJ Casper’s Cha Cha Slide. This song’s selling point, like Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae is literally nothing but telling you what to do yet it hasn’t received any of the hate the newer song has. Makes no sense if you ask me.

At present, Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae has clocked in nearly 196 Million hites on You Tube. If you think that’s alot, keep in mind the You Tube King Gangnam Style by Psy has 2,406,842,219 hits (and still counting!), a feat highly unlikely to be topped anytime soon. The question to ask is “Is this You Tube video something I will want to watch every day several times a day?” When you keep that in mind, the answer is obvious =D

The many faces of Brendan Aurabolt   Leave a comment

All of these pictures of me were taken between 1996 and last Monday I took almost all of them myself. I have one question I want everyone to give an honest answer to but before I ask the question, let me introduce you to some of my selfies:

 

Preparing to head outPicture 001Webcam Stills 010HNI_0081HNI_0074

The following are pictures I frequently use on various websites. Some of you are probably very familiar with them:

 

HNI_0070 HNI_0079 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Webcam Stills 011 IMG_0015 IMG_0011 IMG_0175

 

Now here’s my question:

Which group of pictures has a better chance of being used by the media if I get arrested or murdered?

 I think you and I both know the answer so we’ll leave it at that.

If not for what happened in Missouri the other day, I wouldn’t have even considered sharing the first group of pictures. This is the first time ever that I’ve shared those pictures with ANYONE. Until this post, my own family didn’t even know they existed save the first one. I actually meant to delete them but forgot over time.

Given the way the media likes to portray black men on TV and Movies, I’ve decided to present this post as an open challenge to the WordPress Community: Reblog this post with the question above, the hashtag below and see what happens.

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

Speaking of Michael Jackson…   Leave a comment

What you are about to see is Michael Jackson personified in 17-year old Brett W. Nichols. The video speaks for itself:

The kid did his homework. By the way, he won the Talent Show no surprise.

Here’s footage of MJ doing Billie Jean in Bucharest in 1992 for comparison:

Reportedly the kid’s been studying Michael Jackson’s dance moves for 10 years. He is also a self-styled perfectionist when it comes to the choreography just like the man who inspired him to do this. In an interview he did after the video went viral, he said there were still things he needed to work on. Even sweeter: He’ll be back next year =O

When I first got wind of the video this morning, the video had 1.5 Million hits. 12 hours later, the video has over 5.4 million hits on You Tube!

Five Years After Death, Michael Jackson’s Legacy Lives On   2 comments

The King Has Risen! Just kidding. This is actually a Hologram.

A week and a half after the release of Michael Jackson’s second posthumous album XSCAPE (By the way it’s AWESOME, see below), The King of Pop made a special appearance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

But wait, didn’t he die five years ago? I’d know. I watched the coverage all summer. If you were not the kind of person who could accept the fact the dead can’t come back to life, well…this picture speaks for itself:

Michael Jackson died on June 7, 2009. This is fact. Michael Jackson’s body is interred in a crypt in Los Angeles. Also fact.

So how is an obviously dead man touching a living person in front of a live audience and millions more watching?

Simple: It’s actually a hologram of Michael Jackson.

You can tell that it’s not actually a person much easier in these pictures:

…I’ll give ’em credit for trying. Looking at the faces of the live audience–most of whom have probably seen MJ perform live–it goes without saying it’s not the same. It also drove home for alot of folks in denial The King of Pop is dead and has been for five years next month.By the way, the song performed was Slave to the Rhythm from the recently released Album XSCAPE. If the choreogrphy looks familiar, they meshed it from live shows he did. I could tell at a glance it was a combination of the choreography for Billie Jean, Beat it and Remember the Time.

Actually everything on the stage when the curtain was raised onward was a hologram. Only the dancers in the foreground and in the aisles were real people. It would’ve been too obvious otherwise. Unlike Tupac’s hologram from two years ago (which was done to include Dr. Dre and Ice Cube), MJ’s hologram would be performing solo.

 

Enough about the Billboards. Now we’re going to talk about the recently released album XSCAPE:

It’s interesting to note I didn’t even know this was in the works until I saw samplings for some of the tracks on The Playstation Network two weeks ago. That said, when I looked to buy the album on iTunes I decided to buy the Deluxe version so that I could have both the original and remastered versions of each song.

Like I did when I wrote my review of 2010’s “Michael”, I read some of the top reviews on Amazon.com for the album before writing this. They come from folks claiming to be hardcore and lifetime fans of MJ my age and older. They’re quck to call Michael (the album) a failure but hesitate to even suggest XSCAPE is anything but the real deal.

…Just sayin’.

Anyway, this review is about MJ’s second post-humous album XSCAPE. Eight songs were chosen for this album. The standard version only has the remastered versions of the songs while the Deluxe Edition comes with both the Remastered and Original versions each song. Both versions of the album include Justin Timberlake’s Remix of Love Never Felt So Good, which can be easily argued has no place on either version of the album. While yes, we get it, Sony wants to attract Justin Timberlake fans and vice versa but it would’ve been better released as an LP on one of his (Timberlake’s) albums or something than including it with XSCAPE.

Moving on, let’s go down the list track by track:

1. Love Never Felt So Good: One could date the original version as part of Off the Wall (the album). This album’s lead track, Love Never Felt So Good does its job of pulling you in. for the rest of the album. The remastered version I think will do its job of pulling in new fans as it is a nice fusion of past and present. It’s also my understanding the remixed version was leaked on the internet late last year according to some reviewers. If that’s true, I never heard about it regardless.

2. Chicago: I heard echoes of “Invicible” in the remastered version and Human Nature in the original version of this song. It’s your classic “girl once burned wants to play the fielnd” ballad. This is one of those songs that are just made to transcend time itself.

3. Loving You: The word for the original version of this song is RETRO. I would highly reccommend anyone who picks XSCAPE as their first MJ Album and likes this track makes Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition their second. The bonus track on that album Carusel and the Original version of this song are so similar, I suspect he recorded both songs for the album but like Carusel, it didn’t make the final cut for Thriller’s original release.

4. A Place With No Name: If the intro for the Original version sounds familiar, MJ sampled America’s “A Horse With No Name” and used it as a base for this song. For the record, he got their blessing and permission to do it. The remasterd version reminds me of The Way You Make Me Feel from Bad. The subtle galloping you hear in the remastered version is a nod to the song that inspired the original version of the song.

5. Slave to the Rhythm: This track seems to be somewhere between Dangerous and Invicible. I think the Remastered version does a better job highlighting MJ’s vocals but the pacing for the original is to jam to. All in all the track does its job of acting as the bridge between MJ’s older albums (Thriller, Off the Wall and Bad) and his newer ones (Dangerous, Blood on the Dance Floor and HIStory). As a reminder, this song was performed by the MJ Hologram at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

6. Do You Know Where Your Children Are: Easily the most controversial song on the album. I have no doubt it will be used as fodder for the haters and critics. Even I will admit it’s a very odd song and it immediately made me think of Demerol, which is the bridge for the song Morphine (Blood on the Dance Floor). The gist of the remastered version in no uncertain terms describes a young girl who is a victim of child sexual exploitation. Again, unless you heard the bridge for Morphine (in which MJ literally says he’s addicted to Demerol) you’d have thought this to be far outside the realm of what MJ does. Then again, the same could be said about Scream (“Stop F***ing with me”), Privacy (Invincible) and Leave Me Alone (Bad) in which MJ takes shots at his critics and the paparazzi. The original version had more of an emphasis on the vocals and seems to be somewhere between Bad and Dangerous. I dunno. I think this is one of those songs that should have been released while he was alive. Soon enough, his legacy will be called into question once again only this time he’s not around to defend himself.

7. Blue Gansta: Easily my favorite song on the album and a stark contast to the preceeding song. It’s as if MJ is saying “Yeah I wrote that song but so what? What are you gonna do about it?” According to one of the top reviewers, this song was leaked some years ago under the title No Friend of Mine but was renamed Blue Gansta for the Album release. The original version has shades of Smooth Criminal and The Way You Make Me Feel (both from Bad) thrown in with a touch of You Rock My World (Invincible). It also seemed to have the essence of Duke Ellington’s Jeep’s Blues with those trumpet blasts. An instant classic.

8. Xscape: The cover song is yet another blend of classic and mondern MJ. I mean that for both versions of the song.

All in all I give the album a 10/10.

I’d have given it a 8/10 if I only got the standard version. With XSCAPE, I think it’s safe to overlook “Michael” if you didn’t like it. I didn’t have a problem with it personally but that’s just me. This one will no doubt make critics of The Estate releasing his unreleased song rethink their stance. While yes I ‘d be the first to agree the unfinished songs on “Michael” should have never been released, there is a demand from the fans to hear more of his unreleased work.

And we all know that there are HUNDREDS MORE songs where these two albums came from.

 

The thing about R. Kelly you should never forget   Leave a comment

One of R.Kelly’s Many Booking Mugshots.

He is a convicted rapist and a convicted pedophile.

Click that link for the full, uncut and distrubing details of what he did by the journalist who has since made it his life’s work to see to it R.Kelly’s crimes against children are never forgotten. Some of what that article contains is pretty disturbing to read but given what a man of his status went to prison for, it should never be forgotten for as long as he lives.

Having said that, I don’t have a problem being transparent and saying I own this album:

The album contains what most would call some of the greatest-ever R&B songs of the genre before his first conviction. The 2-Disc compelation contains World’s Greatest, Gotham City and I Believe I Can Fly, which was recorded and featured in the 1995 movie Space Jam as and its connecting music video. The song itself is still considered today to be one of the greatest R&B songs of all time despite the fact its creator is a convicted pedophile. Rightfully so but there is no avoiding the controversy of the artist.

Let me expain one clear difference between Michael Jackson and R. Kelly: One admitted to sharing a bed with minors on tape, had said interview used against him in court and was found not guilty of comitting any crime. The other lied about having oral sex with a 17 year old girl and was later found guilty of the rape of a minor.

Despite the fact Michael Jackson was found innocent of all crimes he was accused of, the court of public opinion prefers to forgive a convicted rapist.

Why is that?

They’re both black men so there’s no race/gender bias. They’re both musically gifted (which is indesputable). They both have fans all over the world. Michael Jacks0n deserved a second chance. R. Kelly got several and wasted no time blowing them all:

Shortly after his release from prison R. Kelly released the above album (because let’s face it, he was broke and needed the money). While he was working on Volume 2 R. Kelly’s name was called in a sex tape leaked to the media in which he urinates on a 14 year old girl. In court, Kelly said he did not know the girl was a minor but as an adult already convicted of a similar crime it’s not unreasonable to have expected him to confirm the girl’s age before taking her to bed. This was the case in which the court of public opinion came to the consenus “Ok so what? If he couldn’t tell I don’t think I could either!”

After being released from prison (again) R. Kelly recorded the first “Black Soap Opera”, better known worldwide as Trapped in the Closet:

His timing couldn’t have been better. At the time he released the first 5 chapters Tyler Perry was becoming a household name with the Madea plays. Trapped in the Closet quickly became a cult classic and after chapter 12 was released it really looked like R. Kelly would be able to put his dark past behind him.

Then he is found on tape raping a 19 year old woman. This time, supposedly it’s R. Kelly himself who recorded it. R. Kelly’s latest incident is resolved without jailtime but the damage has already been done. There is a belief among many that now, the guy simply does not care anymore. This is percieved belief highlighted in the recently released Black Panties in which R. Kelly supposedly admits to his previous crimes and that he just can’t help himself. I haven’t listened to the album so I can’t comment on that but I have no plans to buy it.

You see, R. Kelly is like those politicians repeatedly caught cheating on their wives: He’ll just do it again knowing all he has to do is make music to pay off the legal bills sure to come. Does that make ANY sense? No it does not.

Again: I won’t deny he is a very gifted singer. Even so, I can’t support a man whose personal life is so tainted it’s clearly effected his professional life. That’s the other side of why so many look the other way when it comes to R. Kelly. Yes you should draw a distinction between his public and private lives. It’s what I did with Michael Jackson and Paul Reubens (aka Peewee Herman), after all. Even so, R. Kelly has neither shown remorse for what he did or even asked his victims for forgiveness. When you take that into account it’s harder to come up with a valid arguement to support this guy.

I hope this gave you guys something to think about moving forward. Oh, I will listen to the music he’s done in the past that I have. When I do, I prefer to think of him as the man he was before his fall from grace.

The You Tube Revolution has FINALLY Begun   Leave a comment

All I can really say is it’s about time.

I was one of the first to stand up and say You Tube was systematically taking away their users freedom of expression in conjuction with the RIAA. Some will say the problems started when YouTube was bought by Google 6 years ago. Before the buyout You Tube was a massive free for all. Everything under the sun including pirated movies, tv shows and so on were shared on You Tube. After the buyout YouTube cleaned house.

The problem is they didn’t stop there.

Things escalated from closing accounts used to upload pirated movies to blocking videos in the U.S. for having copyrighted music playing in the background. Now granted, the buyout by Google brought some organization to YouTube but nowadays you’ll find few who make music who actually likes the RIAA. It’s free advertising for them as far as they’re concerned. Oh, speaking of advertisements. As I’m sure you’ve been finding out all year, Google has been coming up with new and creative ways to stick advertisements in every single video on You Tube. This is kinda related but for those who have Chromebooks, did you know Google is using the info you store on those computers to better spam you with junk mail? That isn’t baseless rhetoric from Apple and Microsoft (“Don’t get Scroogled”). It’s fact.

Anyway, folks are beginning to take a stand against You Tube’s practices. Now don’t get me wrong Google has no plans on EVER changing its copyright policy. They have it set up in a way that ANYONE can claim copyrighted material is theirs even though it’s obvious they’re not the copyright holder. It’s an automated system that requires little to no oversight from a Google employee. Ergo, it’s not equitable to change their system.

The only options we video makers/uploaders have is to go elsewhere or make a new video host site. I think a combimation of both is in order. I have been looking at Daily Motion, Blip.tv, Vimeo and Veoh. over the last two years as alternatives. I think it would be far better for someone to just make a site than to just jump to one of those sites. More and more Cable Channels, Anime Companies, Major Sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, Olympics, NCAA, NASCAR, etc.) and sports entertainment (WWE, UFC and TNA) have been streaming their programs through their own websites. Yes, much of it is because some folks will upload live feeds to You Tube after it aired but at the same time they don’t want their content regulated by a third party company.

Now I want to back up a little bit and give the less tech-savy folks out there who use You Tube in on three truths you should always keep in mind:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, an ordinary person like you uploaded the video to the site.
  2. If the video contains copyrighted music and the uploader is not a musician, it will be flagged and blocked or removed in short order.
  3. You Tube has a Three Strikes Policy when it comes to uploading Copyrighted or offendable material. Three Strikes and your account’s closed.

 

See, the thing less tech-savy folks SHOULD know is You Tube’s automated system only does what it’s programmed to do. It does take into account, for example someone walking by with Lady Gaga blaring on their iPhone. It does not account for someone WITH permission uploading copyrighted material. All it knows is someone not in its recorded uploaded something in conflict with the programmed peramaters. Fanmade Music Videos made with copyrighted songs used to be everywhere until a few years ago. What happened? The new copyright policy is what happened. It forced those who make AMVs as they’re also called to look to other sites or just use Rapidshare or Mediafire.

At last, The Revolution has begun.

As more and more people become aware, new video host sites will rise. I don’t expect these new sites to reach even the level of popularity You Tube has but when they come they will be here to stay.

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.

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