And so does Windows Media, but I’ll get to that second.
#1: I have now received two “Thank you for signing up!!!” emails from YouTube, which is rather funny, because I haven’t done anything of the sort. Some fucking moron with the username rothers (and rotini, on the second try) is trying to use my UW email account on there. And YouTube does not require that you validate your email address in order to create an account, but only if you want to post videos. On top of that, the sign up email comes from firstname.lastname@example.org, which is a completely fake address–all mail sent there bounces. I’ve filled in their online web comment form twice now, reporting that someone else is using my email address and asking for them to remove the account(s). No response yet. I’m pissed off that they didn’t set up their site to prevent this. It’s a big popular service, the least they can do is take care of basic user issues correctly and prevent junk logins.
#2: There’s a Timbers game in Seattle today, and the only way to observe the game remotely is a web broadcast through sportsjuice.com. And lucky me, they’re using a streaming Windows Media format. But I want to listen in from home, so I thought I’d suck it up and download Windows Media player anyhow. (Which apparently Microsoft no longer supports on the Mac. What, they’re hoping that the one thing that will drive Mac users back to Windows is their media player?) Except there’s something seriously wrong with the installer from Microsoft’s own site: it thinks it’s an Excel file, and my free trial of Office expired last November. Then I try the recommended alternative, some Quicktime plugins called Flip4Mac. Open Firefox, click on the broadcast link, and nothing happens. After several minutes of frustration, I decide to try Safari. And then I have to find a game on the site that’s already going. Finally, audio comes through. So the Timbers game should work.
But #!@#$%&^ stupid companies that invest all their time into making media files incompatible and broken (let’s see, there’s Real, Microsoft, even Apple is not good on this one, as a starting list). Seriously, fuck you. I am fed up with everything being a proprietary format. I just want to listen to the game, or watch the news broadcast, or whatever it is that you’ve posted online for the public to see, and instead of being concerned about whether your potential customers have access (and will still have access in the future as formats change), you’ve locked it down so we can’t try to steal anything. That’s the mentality that drives online media formats, and it’s so completely counterproductive and insulting I want to yell at someone.
Posting anything online in a Windows-only format is completely lazy and shortsighted. You know why tv works so well? To get the basic channels, all you need is an antenna. Any brand. Any brand of tv set. It’s all compatible.