November 30, 2010

Preying on the family of the dead. My FTC Comment.

Dear Readers, consider commenting, in the next 12 or so hours, on the Statement of Policy Regarding Communications in Connection with Collection of a Decedent’s Debt . Here's my comment that I submitted to the FTC:

I would ask that the commission modify the statement of policy to read that it will continue and in fact improve enforcement against those who would violate 805(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The inhuman treatment of the relatives of those who have passed on by the debt industry impacted my family personally upon the death of my sister at 35, who died leaving a small amount of credit card and some student loans behind.

While a few loans which had be co-signed by my parents were paid off promptly by them, the remaining led to about 12 months of calls from the various creditors telling them they were "morally responsible" for her debt. It took some strong words from my mother to a half dozen creditors before they backed off and stopped tormenting my parents over the death of their daughter.

This is not an industry that needs less oversight and more rope. They are not suffering for being unable to collect legitimate debts from the estates of those who have passed on. The interest rates charged by the industry are specifically designed to accommodate the additional potential risk posed by the death of those that they grant loans to.

Thank you for considering my request.

Christopher James DiBona

To file your own comment, see the link above.

September 8, 2010

Tesla, L'Oreal, Youtube and You.

I sit in seat 6D, listening to an absurd bit of pop from 2008 that was used in the background of a police procedural which was recorded in 2009 and viewed by me in 2011. It was absurdly hard to find online. The band's Joomla based website seems to be, charitably speaking, unmaintained. More honestly speaking, the website likely never worked on any browser, ever, and has unlinked 'free' and 'shop' sections.

A quick listen to their other songs quickly explains why. Their other works make mid-80s corporate concept band Sigue Sigue Sputnik sound like auditory genius. You might remember their song 'love missle f1-11' from Ferris Bueller's, they were the band with embedded advertising from L'Oreal's 'Studio line' inline on the tape. Not the worst band ever, but definitely in the bottom 10.

Anyhow, thanks to the majick of Google and the internet, I was able to find a cute video of tweens dancing to the song, which led to me seeing a comment that Scott Westerfeld's Uglies books may or may not be finding its way onto the big screen. That led to a search where I ended up seeing fan trailers for a movie that may or may not ever exist.

But I digress from the real thrust of this blog post, which is something I'm given to do. My bad, my digital homies.

The cool thing about Ultraviolet Sound's Brainwashed is that it appears to use as initial bit of rhythmic chip cheep cheep cheep sound a bit of audio derived from a Tesla Coil's lightning crackle. That same crackle started enjoying a bit of popularity in the popular mind with the advent of Maker Magazine/Faire/Burning Man Van De Graff/Tesla Coil videos in 2007. This bit of electronic esoterica also found its way into the recent Disney movie "The Sorcerer's apprentice".

So, to bring it all together, we have youtube helping popularizing a sound and technology that has been generated in one form or another since the late-1800s, finding its way into TV, Film and on the Internet.

Tesla is now, finally, truly, vindicated. Take that Edison. The 20th century....well...we'll give that one to you. The 21st belongs to the mad engineer. Elephants can breath easy.