Consumer Information

Black Friday Time

It’s Black Friday and the following retailers are of course offering deals that you music collectors will likely be interested in :

Amazon.ca is offering discounts on CDs, vinyl records, concert DVDs/Blu-rays and headphones. So are Amazon’s international stores. I’m personally keeping an eye one of the many boxsets and blu-rays from Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Tears For Fears (Songs For The Big Chair/The Hurting), Bon Jovi and Rammstein.

Animal lovers should note that American retailer Animal Den is offering 15% off their animal themes products via the following code : BF2017

Best Buy Canada has it’s usual door crashers and other deals on CDs, headphones, etc. I’ve already taken advantage of a deal here on a waffle maker. Hey, even people who listen to music need to eat ! 😉

If you’re looking to buy used books, you can always try US Based BetterWorldBooks.com, who are offering a 30% discount on orders that contain 4 books that are shipped from the company itself. The coupon code for that offer is BLACKFRIDAY17

US book, film and music retailer Booksamillion.com is offering multiple discounts on their products, from $10 to $50 off depending on the purchase. Look for the coupon code on the main page.

Looking for security products ? Receive Up To 70% Off Select Products, only at BrickhouseSecurity.com! Use code BLACK17 at checkout. Offer valid from 11/24 – 11/26 only.

Music, television and film themed calendars and other goods are discounted at Calenders.com today : Black Friday Sale – Up to 70% off + 20% off $50 + F/S with code BLACKFRI

Indigo Canada‘s Black Friday sale includes an offer for 25% Off select toys and Beats headphones, along with several discounts on books and tech.

American computer hardware retailer MacMall/PC Mall is offering deals on both Mac and PC hardware, as well as on tablets.

American instrument and music accessory retailer Music & Arts if offering a discount of 20% on orders over US$199 with coupon code BF2017 : Shop Music & Arts!

Musicians and recording artists should note that US instrument and accessory retailer Musician’s Friend has a multitude of coupons for their products.

National Geographic is currently offering 30% off all of the products sold on their official site, including DVDs, books and other nature based products : Shop Now!

Newegg.ca is offering various discounts on its computer hardware, tablets, drones, instruments and accessories.

Stargazers and nature watchers should note that U.S Based Orion Telescopes and Binoculars is also having a sale this year : Black Friday Starts NOW!

If you like editing home or music videos on your PC, Pinnacle’s Black Friday sale is on : Black Friday deals have arrived! Save Big on Pinnacle products

American memorabilia retailer Rock.com has a Black Friday coupon for 20% that’s good up to the 25th : BLACKFRIDAY20

US software retailer Roxio is currently offering discounts on their software, for both Mac and PC : Black Friday deals have arrived! Save Big on Roxio products

American used and new CD, DVD and Blu-ray retailer Second Spin is offering a 30% discount on orders over $30 (with coupon code SSBF17). They’re also offering a 10% discount on vinyl and game orders (with coupon code BFV17).

If you’re looking for sheet music : BLACK FRIDAY CYBER MONDAY SALE! 15% off orders of $50 or more! Use code “SUPERWKND17” Shop Now! For A Limited Time Only At www.sheetmusicplus.com!

WWEshops.com is currently offering various discounts of their wrestling products for Black Friday : Great Savings at WWEShop.com!

American instrument retailer Woodwind / Brasswind is offering a 20% discount on a single item purchase of over US$99 with coupon code BF2017W : Shop at Woodwind and Brasswind

Sonos Wireless Music Player

Net Neutrality Still Under Attack

It appears that Americans will have no choice but to subscribe to services dictated to them by their internet providers. And that Canadians will be up for a fight to retain fast access with the states.

That’s right, not only are these Americans limited in regards to their choice of internet providers but these providers will be able to throttle sites that compete with sites they own or have business relationships with, which include Canadian sites.

Although this is being sold as an improvement to the internet by the Federal Communications Commission in their official November 21st, 2017 statement (PDF), most experts know that this is yet another call for deregulation, a process that eventually results in parties imposing themselves on the consumer, without a means for the consumer to defend himself/herself.

In this statement, the FCC claims “the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate” yet nothing is mentioned about the lack of competition is some states or the possibility of fees being placed on accessing certain sites like Netflix, iTunes or even Amazon.com, who also stream content to Americans.

The bill itself calls for the US Government “to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and from imposing certain regulations on providers of such service” with no information on how it proposes to regulate internet providers that currently hold a monopoly on high speed internet access in some areas or how it would prevent some internet providers from blocking certain competitors or redirecting traffic to their sites.

As Canadians we should also be conserved about these content providers because whatever happens in their primary market can determine how much we pay for their services here. And it appears that quite a few of the content providers are spending considerable amounts fighting the so called “Restoring Internet Freedom Act” because it hinders not only their freedom but the freedom of their customers.

In what way is the average consumer having his or her freedoms hindered by net neutrality ?

The claim that access is being withheld because internet providers are unable to fund their infrastructure is made dubious by the amount of profit these companies release every quarter. They can easily afford expanding but won’t because they want to re-direct their customers to more profitable in house services, whose cable television services have been suffering because of the new content providers.

In other words they’re asking the FCC to give them their cable television customers back by enabling them to throttle and block their competition, which could easily include streaming broadcasts from television networks they do not own. This is a rather vague, slippery slope situation that could be so litigious as to cause subscription fees to skyrocket beyond the inflation rate. And the North American Free Trade Agreement talks won’t help either.

If you have American friends, please encourage them to visit Open Media and to contact their local representatives in regards to this issue.

Thank you.

Pre-Black Friday Week Sales

The Pre-Black Friday Week discounts have begun at the following retailers :

* Amazon Canada – Shop Black Friday Week Deals
* Amazon International – Shop Black Friday Week Deals
* Best Buy Canada – Black Friday Prices Now
* Books A Million – Shop Early Black Friday Deals at Books-A-Million!
* Guitar Center – Countdown to Black Friday Daily Pick: Top-selling gear at the lowest prices of the season. Valid 11/8 to 11/22.
* Indigo/Chapters – Pre-Black Friday Sale. Check out this store’s Record Shop
* Mac Mall/PC Mall – Pre- Black Friday Sale
* Mark’s Work Warehouse – Various Deals
* Microsoft Canada – Starts mid next week / Shop Microsoft Store – Free Shipping and Free Returns!
* Music & Arts – Black Friday Deals – 20% off purchases $199+ with code: BF20. Valid 11/17 to 11/26.
* Musician’s Friend – (Deals start on Monday)
* Newegg Canada – Black Friday Deal Leak
* Pinnacle Systems – Black Friday deals have arrived! Save Big on Pinnacle products
* Roxio – Black Friday deals have arrived! Save Big on Roxio products

Scalper Exposed in Paradise Papers

CBC’s Fifth Estate will be airing a report on Super Scalpers tonight at 9pm Eastern, one of which is listed on the Paradise Papers.

This Montreal based scalper managed to accumulate millions in sales via Stubhub, a site that sells event tickets throughout the world, by allegedly bypassing a four ticket per fan limit at a site that had sold tickets for Adele concerts through-out Europe last year.

Unfortunately, scalpers like these have been keeping tickets from the poorer fans for years by using ticket bot software that gives them unfair access to tickets and governments throughout the world, like that of the provincial government of Ontario are trying to control this unscrupulous behaviour through legislation. And now we know at least one of them is evading taxes…

Consult your local television listings for your local broadcast. And if you miss this program, you will likely be able to watch it via the Fifth Estate web site.

Time To Stock Up On Gift Cards

Several retailers are having gift card offers that you should probably take advantage of, especially if you want to take advantage of the upcoming Black Friday sales.

You now have two days to obtain 10% off Canadian Tire gift cards at participating Shopper Drug Mart stores. But here are some more offers for this weekend :

From November 3rd to November 9th (2017), Air Miles members can obtain 20 bonus miles on gift card purchases of $25 or 40 bonus miles on gift card purchases of $50 at participating Rexall/Pharma Plus stores, provided the gift cards purchased are for Indigo, Kobo and Mark’s.

From November 4th to November 10th (2017), participating Shoppers Drug Mart stores will give 8000 points to Optimum members who purchase two or more gift cards whose combined value is over $200 and these points, which is a $10 value, will be added to their accounts on or by November 17th, 2017.

Indigo and Amazon Canada will be holding their Black Friday sales on November 23rd, 2017. But note that Amazon Canada is also currently offering discounts via a pre-Black Friday sale.

Get Your Security Updates !

A new Wi-Fi exploit has been discovered and you should update all of your devices a.s.a.p.

That includes anything that uses wi-fi, from your desktop/laptop to tablet/cell phone. And yes, some devices will not be patched immediately so keep trying.

Microsoft has patched their software, from Windows 7 to 10, and Apple is currently working on getting their iOS patches up and running, having already released them for developers. But Android users may need to wait until November 6th, 2017 for an update.

In the case of Linux operating systems and routers, OpenBSD systems have already been patched and patches are available for Debian-based systems. But most of the router manufacturers are working on firmware updates so you’ll need to contact your Internet Provider or Router manufacturer for details on that.

The problem is the KRACK wi-fi vulnerability, which is an issue to anyone that accesses non-secured websites online and doesn’t use a Virtual Private Network to do so. But it should be noted that Android and Linux users are more vulnerable to the exploit than anyone else because most of the other desktop and laptop operating systems are more complex.

The good news is that if you rent a cable modem from your internet provider, it will be updated by your internet provider soon (if it isn’t already updated). And if you don’t use your tablet and phone to browse the net outside your home, you will likely not have an issue.

If you use public wi-fi services in hotels or at your local coffee shop/restaurant, then I would recommend keeping an eye on updates and getting a virtual private network set up on your device to encrypt your internet, including those unencrypted sites you browse on.

By the way, there’s no point in changing your wireless password but you should change your router’s admin password, especially if it’s been left at default. :-/