Tag Archive for security

Ruining It for the Rest of Us

Last night I attended a screening for the upcoming movie Dredd (very good, enjoyed it a lot, plenty of action, too violent for the youngsters, looking forward to some sequels) and ran into the latest round of backlash and silliness.

No Recording Devices

All Your Cameras Are Belong To Us!

I’ve been to many screenings, so I’m used to them saying that you have to turn off your phones or even saying you can’t bring them in. Sorry folks, they keep making better phones and with 720p HD video recording on your phone, it is getting easier for people to bootleg movies. And that’s really what they are looking for, recording devices.

First off, to all you people there who download shitty bootlegs recorded with camera phones: Stop. For one, there are better bootlegs out there. For another, THERE ARE BETTER BOOTLEGS OUT THERE. I’d say that again in bold and italics, but I figure CAPS should be enough.

Secondly, to the theaters: see the above paragraph. Very few people are downloading bootlegs made on iPhones. Mostly because almost no one is making bootlegs on iPhones. Most bootlegs are made in empty theaters by unscrupulous theater employees, or made as a digital copy right off the discs/camera/stream, however you are getting your digital copy of the movie. If the screening is months before release, then I further understand a desire for “security” to keep screen grabs from leaking onto the Internet, but when you are within a week of release and professional paid reviewers are already dropping bombs and spoiling your film, a kid who snaps a crappy photo of your movie is the last thing you should be worried about.

What really irked me though, was the insistence by security that not only were phones, cameras and such not allowed inside, but no iPods or Kindles or Nooks or any electronic device. That’s right, even devices that do not have cameras because they are not made with cameras, were not being allowed inside. Certainly this was because of lazy – it’s easier to ban everything than to actually know things and selectively exclude devices that are capable of recording. On top of that, though, is the fact that in all the screenings I’ve been to the only thing that ever needs to happen is for security to say, “Put all phones on silent or vibrate. If you use an electronic device during the movie, or a device you have makes noise, you will be removed from the theater.” and then stand in the back of the theater, watching and listening. When that happens, no one pulls out their phones to make calls or text or play games. Because, by and large, people don’t suck when given simple logical instructions.

To top that off, the movie was in 3D. You cannot, to my knowledge, record a 3D movie projected onto a screen with a handheld camera and preserve the 3D. At best, you slap one of the polarized lenses on the camera and record only the left or right eye image, capturing it in 2D – but it will be much worse quality than just capturing the film in straight 2D.

And further insult to injury, the security staff was willing to “bag and tag” phones, but they offered no insurance. One guy actually said, to the crowd, “If you lose your ticket or we lose your phone, you will not get a replacement. It’s just gone.” You know, there is a reason that I keep a photo of myself on my phone at all times, that way I can walk someone through unlocking the phone and opening the photo to prove it’s either mine or someone who knows me. But if that wasn’t enough, the parking garage at this particular theater is a typical parking garage, and thus on your parking ticket states “The management of this garage is not responsible for damage or theft of any vehicle or its contents.” So when the security guys were offering to let people out of line to go put their phones and Kindles and iPads in their cars, they were basically saying “You can’t take those in the theater, with you, where they are safe, you need to put them in your car, where the garage has specifically stated that they aren’t responsible for them.”

I guess people could just not bring their phones and things with them, but who goes around without a phone these days?

Anyway, I’m sure we got this terrible treatment by security because some schmuck somewhere tried to record a movie with his iPhone and then uploaded it to YouTube. If you are that guy, just know, you are ruining the movie going experience for everyone. Cut it out.

The TSA

I don’t usually talk politics and such on here, but I feel I need to put a few things out there…

First off, lets go ahead and get the bit about people who trade liberty for security deserving neither.  I believe that.  If we have to live in fear, like slaves, to a huge machine of rules and regulations then the terrorists have won.

Second, to all the people who are supporting the TSA and their new scanners and pat downs with the defense of “We need to prevent another 9/11” … you are disgracing the memory of those who died.  Want to prevent another 9/11?  One, make the cockpit door stronger to the point where it cannot be battered down, and any explosive strong enough to open the door will also damage the plane enough that getting inside the cockpit is useless.  Two, a new policy where the pilots enter the plane first, close and lock the door, and they don’t open it unless one of the cockpit crew is in medical distress.  In future plane designs/redesigns, give them their own bathroom and a place to store a meal so that they don’t need to leave nor does anyone need to come in.  Done.  If terrorists cannot get into a functional cockpit, they cannot use the plane as a weapon and you have prevented another 9/11.  No amount of confiscation of nail clippers and water bottles and junk touching pat downs will prevent another 9/11.  Did you know that a properly folded copy of the Sky Mall magazine can be used as a weapon?

It’s all security theater, and if it makes you feel safer then you don’t understand what is going on.  Mostly though, as with many things, this is about money.  By mandating that every airport needs to have these new scanners they guarantee sales of the scanners.  The enhanced pat down exists mainly to make using the scanner feel like the better option, and they released these new regulations during the holiday season because they knew people would put up less of a fight if fighting meant missing a flight home for turkey and pumpkin pie.  And if you want to avoid all this drama and just skip flying… you are much much more likely to be killed in a car accident than you are to be killed by terrorists on a plane even without the new enhanced security.

I guess what I’m saying is… take the train.  I also hear that trans-Atlantic cruises are nice.

Independence Day

Freedom. It is a word that many of us here in the United States take for granted, and often, not comprehending the worth of it, are willing to trade for security. Elsewhere, people fight for freedom, and our forces fight for their freedom, whether they want it or not. But I’m not here to talk about politics.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know my feeling on the crutch of New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, they work for some people, but they are so horribly open ended that most people end up picking things that are just too much to hinge of the turn of a year. So I am proposing a new tradition: Freedom Day.

July 4th every year I am going to pick something that is holding me back, something that is oppressing my advancement, and I’m going to break free of it.

For our inaugural year we going to pick something simple: my weight. I am not a fat man. I’m 5’9″ at 200 lbs. and all my extra poundage is centered around my waist. If you dig, somewhere on this site you might find a picture of me with my shirt off. So, what I am breaking free from this year is my excuses for not exercising. I always seem to find some reason to avoid it. “I have work to do.” “I’m tired.” “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “I need a home gym.” “I need new shoes.” Well, no more. I have home equipment, an eliptical and a Total Gym, and work I can do pretty much any time I want, I have shoes, being tired is part of the reason I need to get in shape, and tomorrow never comes.

Three days a week minimum, starting this week. I’m out of excuses, and I will be free.

Stuff on the Net IX

10 Things I Hate About Commandments.

The Dragon*Con guest list is shaping up nicely. Richard Hatch is going to be there (no surprise).

Okay, fine, I’m going to link to something E3 related… Scott Jennings went and had a run in with Paris Hilton’s security. She was there whoring her new video game (which I’m sure she was totally involved in the design of), only she couldn’t remember the right name of it. And surprisingly, even though she was whoring at E3, she didn’t actually look completely like one.

It’s an old game, but needing something to tide me over until the return of Prison Break in the fall, Prison Tycoon. I wonder if they include all the aspects of real prison…

Homeland Security

Since 9/11 I’ve been through security at the Atlanta airport a few times. People are so desensitized to it now that its automatic, when you approach the metal detectors and xray machines you take off your shoes and place them on the conveyor belt. People practically strip just to avoid getting hasselled. So I went to the airport yesterday with a certain expectation… and an expired driver’s license.

Now, my birthday was the 10th and I had just completely forgotten to renew it. So I got stopped and then turned away. They sent me to a desk to argue my case and see if they’d be willing to stamp me through. They didn’t.

However, the guy standing next to me had a different problem. His name was Steve Johnson, but his ticket was in the name William Hawkins. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) So Steve begins to unravel his story… His name used to be William Steve Hawkins, but he doesn’t like the name William so he’s always gone by Steve. As a child, he was adopted, Hawkins is their last name. He didn’t get along with them, and a few years ago he sought out his biological parents, and found them, they were named Johnson. He’s made a good relationship with them and last year he had his named legally changed to Steve Johnson. Now comes the silly part, as if its not silly enough. Steve’s wife (still named Hawkins) booked his flight for him, using a credit card that was still in his old name. So his driver’s license says Steve Johnson, but his credit card and his ticket say William Hawkins. And they let him through.

So the lesson here is, if I had had someone elses driver’s license or someone elses ticket and a good story, I could have gotten on the plane. But since I had my own expired license, I’m a security risk.