I think it is important that you know about the RealPlayer format found on much of the net, including your own site. The reason I tell you this is because I believe in what you are doing and there will be subtle ways you, and all like you, will be affected in such ways as to effect your efficiency. I could be wrong but I see a pattern building. Obvious, if you pay attention, but obscure, for those who are unknowing victims. God help the newbies!
Realplayer is a company which offers a service format (.ram) to play audio/video. Up until recently, I had not seen what the end result was to be of all these free offerings and the specific formats they use. The name of the game, of course, is business. However, where in the previous "free" versions does the agreement (mandatory, upon set-up) of usage say that service will end once a saleable end-product version is reached? Where is the fee I should be seeing, for my input toward that design, when I have apparently been party to a contract without knowledge?
What I would like to know is; does the inherent nature of business allow a company to dissolve service when their plan has been devised to include such clauses that provide a seeming pre-determined action, by a company, that converts a meaning to allow false advertising?
Let me explain.
As of January 2002, I had updated a previously free download of the basic RealPlayer. The final notification, inviting me to "upgrade", came last week. I followed the need for 'newer, better, faster,…" and ended up creating the ability for me to no longer use the so-called 'free' player. In effect, the latest upgrade disabled my (or rather their) RealPlayer from being usable. It is interesting that I cannot find a player that will run the same format (.ram). Coincidence? NOT!
The notification message I received when I went out onto the net to play a selected web site sample made it clear that the version of RealPlayer I had was not capable of functioning anymore. Is this the trend we're beginning to see?
No-no, wait!! It gets better!
David, when I came to your site, this is where it happened. I tried to watch the videos you have there and upon trying to open the format, it comes into my PC but will not play. Why? Because the RealPlayer format (.ram) is not supported due to the fact that my player's abilities to function have been disabled by the very company who enabled webmasters to install the service onto their sites?. I tried to reinstall the original player but this didn't work. Then I tried to go and find an older version. That didn't work either. All links took me to the RealONE site. So, I got curious.
I did a search through several search engines for free downloadable versions of RealPlayer. I started at 3.0 and started looking for any link that would allow me to do this. I found site after site with a link that led back to the homepage for the purchasable RealPlayer ONE, but the unrelated site itself indicated that the version was a fully functional download, not a trial version. Where are the guys from FOSI when you need them?!
As I searched, a thought began to sicken me - what about all the people who have the audio/video service (SENDER) on their web pages? This is different than the receiving process allowed by the RealPlayer interface. You cannot send to me because I do not have the capacity to receive, regardless of whether you provide it or not. No generic player allows the stream to occur. Does this mean that people who pay for the transmit service, like you, will not be able to show content to certain people because they do not have the actual player themselves?? The plot thickens: SEND = fee/ RECEIVE = fee.
Who would the visitors to these sites blame if part of web page did not function? Net etiquette has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the webmaster (the builder/maintainer), to be sure that all links are accurate and active on their site. Based on that same standard, whose integrity will be questioned, or at least, smudged, due to this inaccuracy, the company source provider (like RealPlayer) or the page holder source (like you, and others like you)? Did you or any person with this audio/video service on their web site get a notification that this would be occurring? I doubt it. Did I get a notification that my player would cease to function if I, once again, upgraded? No.
But that is just one side of what is happening with what I see as the planned orchestration of the internet.
In 1995 and '96, the push was on to get people onto the internet, and in fact, is still ongoing. In fact, the machine was so fashioned so as to telemarket to homes and sell computers to people who could not afford them. Financing is made possible through creative accounting practices and then you pay for years because your desire to be "on the net" gets the better of you. The reason people were drawn to the net was originally because rumour, as is it's nature, set about showing that the new Information Superhighway was free - pay your monthly internet service provider fees and you can experience all of this freedom. Well, as people do, they forgot that particular reason (that they spent all the money on computers, upgrades, services, repairs, 900 service numbers, etc.,) and they RE-created what the meaning of the net was for them now.
Whether the motivation to utilize the internet came due to efficiency offered in business; or, via the experiential world of chat; or, through the massive convenience of email; or, because of such fun like a multimedia interface; we all had our reasons, and still do, for utilizing the net the way(s) we do. The point is that we recreated our reasons and made them more personal. And that's the clincher…we use the net in a way that allows us the most value, depending on the choice of what we are utilizing. It is choice, itself, that is drawing us in. Notice how 'choice' has been nurtured within people since the real advent of the web. Especially, in the case of children. Everything media is empowering children. Get them when they are young and "normal" is established. Was Gore so uninvolved in the creation/facilitation of the net? He does afterall say he "invented" the internet. In what ways? In what aspects? Economically, it is a diamondmine.
I am not saying that 'choice' is bad. In fact, I am not saying anything more than 'choice can lead us down roads such as this one and there are forces in this world who utilize this knowledge to achieve business and financial goals we usually have no knowledge about but still are participating in'. Am I wrong? NOPE!!
A plan involves a carefully laid out series of steps, involving actions, that will take place to cause other actions to occur, while simultaneously including the results of actions that, based upon the plan, should occur along the way. The internet ensures that if one is to be successful, one must plan well ahead, in five to ten year increments, with a well-laid agenda mapped out to ensure that success, whatever that may equate to, to the receiver of that success. Otherwise, you fail in the way you are conspiring….uh, I mean planning. Yeah, that's it - planning!
Seriously, here we have a company - RealPlayer. This company changes its "free" download site that will lead all satellite links (individual website hypertext links) back to a source who now demands payment. Most Net Vets, as I call them, have become reliant on what audio/video offers, and, now, have nothing available for free download, other than a "14 day TRIAL VERSION". This is almost beyond genius. It gets better still!!
Think about all those individual web sites again. Think about how many sites have links to RealPlayer. I have seen two and three per page in some cases and many more if the site has mutilple audio/video clips. Think about all of the free saturation received by RealPlayer, the company. Think about how long the process will take for all of the owners of those sites to come to the realization that this is happening, that they are part of the plan, being used as they are. Hypothetically, how long would it take for webmasters to become aware and then do something, assuming they care? Would they care enough to change the HTML coding on their pages so that .RAM is no longer the chosen format and is no longer capable of being relayed through their site?
Now, we come to legality (and please understand that I am not a lawyer but), as I understand it, majority is supposed to rules when the spirit of a traditional vote is applied. This is the foundation that democracy is based upon. Well, if RealPlayer, the company, has convinced users and webmasters that RealPlayer WAS (past-tense) free, and all links say so, who would be "falsely" advertising? RealPlayer, would not be the one perceived as being the liar. So, thoss who might complain are already involved. Seems there is some deception afoot! Let's look deeper.
So, here we have the initial ideal of the net still in place - people can still pay their ISP fees and still enjoy all the "free" things on the internet. That part has not been degraded. Secondly, we have a "conduit". This 'conduit' is a channel for BEING ABLE to use the decidely free audio/video content. The catch is the conduit!! Do you hear me?? The act of having the ABILITY, to hear/view, is being monopolized! This is like taxing us because we need light to see and you happen to live in a country with light! Would you tolerate this?! Well, as long as you support companies, like RealPlayer, you are not only tolerating action like this but you are helping to make the software better AND to finance the ability for them to do this to you. How? By even using the product. You don't have to purchase anything. Just exposing you to the banner ads, allows RealPlayer to be paid by by advertisers. The more exposure they can supply to increase the odds of someone buying the "sponsor's" product, the more they can get from this advertiser. This is how it works!
How can they get away with this? Well, to see it, you have to see how the scheme was set-up. Take a look at your help button. Look through the options and you will almost always see some feature that enables you to send an error report to the tech desk. This is how the process is done and how the information for them to adjust their product is made possible.
An analogy (comparison) like, an artist working with clay can be used here. I recall a quote from a great sculptor in his explanation of what allowed him to do his great works. It goes something like this; 'remove everything that is not part of the end product and what you are left with, is the sculpture." Now superimpose "free products" instead of "clay" and you get a fairly good snapshot of the conspiracy and how it works.
If you were to take one of these companies to court, nothing illegal has been done and therefore no real fines or punishment would be applied. Take into account the potential money to be made and you nullify conscience in these people. However…! If nothing is wrong with the practices used, why not say what you are doing right in the end user agreement, right from the beginning when RealPlayer was being introduced? Because, obviously, people would look down on being used in this manner. Well, DUH!!
Think of this the way the creators of this software do, "we know it works but HOW exactly does it work PERFECTLY?" In the beginning, the cost to figure this out would have been one of such magnitude that it would have crippled any company. Enter the Beta Tester.
A BETA TESTER is someone who "gets" to use a computer product. In return, this "getting" is actually a way to test the product, in a real world, internet/computer situation and creates a knowledge database that comparatively costs much less than traditional forms of research, in the real world. In previous years, this was called "consulting", or even further, "research focus groups", and would cost quite a sum to gather the knowledge. This knowledge gives the company insight into what can and will go wrong with their product. Now, on the internet, costs like these become eliminated due to programs associated with BETA TESTING.
As time goes on, millions of people are using the product, and testing it. Whether you gripe or present accolades, the result will be a good (POSITIVE) response or a bad (NEGATIVE) response, and ranges of the same. These users are like BETA testers in that if something goes wrong, they email tech support to help the company to create something that performs and is quality enough to sell. This is not the end though.
Why do you think companies, like Microsoft, fought so hard to legally be involved with services such as broadband? They are not so interested in supplying ISP services, even though they offer them, than in creating their world online. How? Simply by then evolving their interest further by producing multiple residual income sources through the very same "free" services that we all take for granted now. This means basically that in the real world, a man would get rich owning say a city block of property and then leasing each segmented parcel until the property gains enough value and he is able to sell high. On the internet, there is a difference. Here, in cyberspace, you can be like God. Here, you can own everything. If you can create value in this cyber world, your property values are determined by you, for you and it is like owning as many of these city blocks as you want. But here, these "city blocks" are wafer thin and stackable to infinity. These stacks can then be placed next to other stacks and so on.
Let me share my insight with you.
I believe that in the future, after a couple more generations of young people grow up to accept, and become reliant upon, the internet at a standard of "normal", they will become accustomed to increases in price tags attached to currently "free" services. These few inclusive services will explode into multi-sources of sellable product points. Income will be exponentially growing and as the tree grows so do the number of branches. If we do not put a stop to this now, everything will be pay-per-view or pay-per-usage. What is wrong with that? All freedom will be linked to money completely and when the economic mark is revealed, everything will be linked so that "nothing could be bought nor sold, without the mark". This may seem like a different topic but it really isn't. How is a mark going to be accepted? Or begin to be seen as a benefit?
Business 101 teaches us that the largest sums of money are not made off the initial sale of an item. No, the real money is made through licensing fees - the fee-structured allowance of user consumption. Insurance companies (owned by the credit card conglomerates), cable companies, telephone companies, etc., all use this concept and the rich get richer. This is not only the entire point of the net, but this is why people were led to believe what they did in the beginning - that the net is free - and what is already quickly becoming a thing of the past. The 'why' comes from the desire of greed and the capacity of the internet to satisfy that green-headed monster as it rears its ugly head. People believe that upon finding this out, that maybe they can take advantage of this and say nothing about the companies who do do this. They think it is bad but they also wonder how they can become a part of the process. If they do, they play right into their hand. I know this and I do not use it BUT I do know who to trust due to the knowledge.
The way it was, and is, done is quite simple. Internet companies, follow a plan - 1. Get people to talk about the greatness of the net, 2. Give them free stuff, 3. Expose them to what we know they will like - free stuff, games, sex, gambling, etc., 4. Create a feeling of ABILITY, redundant or not, via the electronic products and as a result, create dependence and addiction on these 'conduits', 5. Begin charging for those high-end things which enhance the experience of the web, but allow "free" usage for the "featureless" model, 6. Begin showing people how to master aspects of the net through more "free" access, online learning, company support, help files, help desks, online learning centers, web sites set up to fix problems, patch utilities, etc., 7. Allow access to places where they can display their work for "free", once dependence has been established, and then drive that dependence by making the thinking in-grained, 8. Beta testing to allow a way for tech support and designers to figure out how to take away what is wrong with the internet! and finally, 9. Make 'em pay!! Ease them into a small pay structure per use or per item and then WHAM! Start the process all over again.
The way to understand the internet as it was to be used for commerce, in the beginning, is that the web itself could not work the way it was foreseen to grow. There were too many issues to deal with. The net still had to become user-friendly. Thus the need to take the bumps out of the road, so to speak, and create an information superhighway that was smoothly paved. Now, with the advent of current technologies, this is occurring right before our eyes and we are helping it get there!
I suppose that in closing the most appropriate item to quote would be to use one that I heard in a seminar with David Icke. "The best way to avoid being a part of the game, is to NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE GAME." David is correct.
Currently, we have a choice. The tomorrows of our internet future will become the regrets of a past world in this reality, or we learn and dictate the future before it is dictated to us. If you are a programmer and reading this letter, please think about becoming a hero. HTML publishing nay not be free for very much longer and this needs to be repaired now. I ask you; create a free-based HTML code that supports audio and video that can be embedded into all web pages, regardless of the format, that will convert any sound to traditional. WAV/MP3 formats. Another option would be to produce a free-based file that converts or filters a format, such as .RAM, into whatever format the end user wishes. If this continues to be controlled via our freedoms and choices, when this is so encouraged in the real world as it is on the net, 1984 (George Orwell) will seem like a cakewalk.
For the rest of you users, don't upgrade your products. Upgrade is a synonym for 'a deceptive manipulation to get you to work for "free", except that your fee is paid is the form of this "free" usage'. Disable any auto-upgrade settings, if you have them and when asked if you want to upgrade, click the "no" button. In fact, if you do not need to have the net on while using them, stay offline. DSL and CABLE users must physically unplug from the net.
Remember, ANTI-TRUST is only ANTI-TRUST if there is proof to support the definition and ergo, the allegation. For something to be illegal, you must get caught being illegal, which would have to show some sort of indication of it being illegal, ergo ANTI-trust. Otherwise, the action is just smart business, isn't it? Thanks to RealPlayer for being the first make my point for me.
Wanna see what people are capable of? Get your hands on a video called, "The Pirates of Silicon Valley". And Bill Gates talks about software pirates!!
Conspiracy??!! Don't be ridiculous!
Thanx David, for ALL that you do.
It is time!
Read also about RealNetworks Privacy Invasion Tactics
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