Consumer Information

Foreign CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Listing Added

Now that the Canadian and US dollars are at Par I thought i’d add a
foreign CD/DVD/Blu-ray source listing to this blog, that I will be updating a.s.a.p.

Please note : DVDs and Blu-Ray discs originating from outside North America may not be compatible with your DVD or Blu-Ray disc player. Region 0 NTSC or Region 0 Pal DVDs and Blu-Ray discs may be played on certain North American players but DVDs and Blu-Ray discs other than Regions 0 or 1 will require a region free DVD player or region free Blu-Ray disc player.

Planning a trip to the U.K ?

Then it’s time to update your laptop’s security.

The Digital Economy Bill enables the British government to fine individuals whose computers have been used to download pirated material in the United Kingdom. And this includes computers that have been hacked.

According to Times Online a dozen people have already been served in regards to this law, which is expected to pass and become active on Wednesday.

This means that travelers to the U.K will need to disable their file sharing software on their laptops and use higher wireless security settings, WPA2, to access the internet in the U.K.

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Guvera Live

Australian music download service Guvera is now online in Australia and the States.

This advertisement funded service allows registered users to stream or download music free (in the Mp3 format) from EMI, Universal and several indie labels.

The American service is in beta mode at the moment and is only giving 100,000 users access until more advertisers can be found.

Here is a Billboard article on this service

Contest VS Scam

Seeing that this is about attempts to fool people I though I’d post this on April 1st.

A few days back I was tinkering with my older computer when I got this call from Florida.

When I picked up and said hello I heard nothing. No voice, no recording. So of course I dismissed it as a telemarketing call, from one of those rude telemarketers that use computerized devices that put people on hold while the staff pitch their products and services to someone else.

After hanging up I Googled the phone number, (813) 948-2768, and comments about a credit card scam came up so I decided to jot the number down where I could remember it.

A few minutes later I got another call.

This time the same phone number appeared for a few seconds and then was relabeled as “Unknown Caller“.

Whoops !

I was again put on hold and was subjected to about a minute or so of dead air, that I spent voicing some choice words in the hopes of being recorded by the telemarketer. But in the middle of my rant I was interrupted by a woman, who suddenly called me by name.

Well, apparently I had won something – A Universal Cruise.

Oh Wow ! Enter Gospel music here !

Isn’t it interesting how I’ve managed to win something I didn’t enter ? Something I had no interest in, what-so-ever, because it would require me to waste my time and money getting a passport ?

But of course this didn’t deter the telemarketer, who apparently thought that because she had my birth date that I could be fooled into believing I had entered this contest, regardless of my concerns about the passport issue and general disinterest in the prize.

Annoyed that she had somehow managed to obtain my birth date I then pressed her for details about the contest. I asked her where I had allegedly entered the contest.

Her response was that she was just some telemarketer that was hired to contact potential winners and that all she knew was that I had allegedly filled up a contest entry form on one of the social networking sites, mentioning AOL, Yahoo and Facebook by name.

This was all rather vague so I then asked who the sponsor of the contest was, a reasonable question that she apparently didn’t have a response for because she then proceeded to ask me to confirm my details again for my “prize package”.

By then I had decided that if she was unable to provide real answers that her supervisor could, so I asked to speak to him. But of course customer service appeared to be secondary to getting me to confirm my address and marital status.

Hmm !

So I asked again to speak to her supervisor, stating that I could easily file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner, whose office happens to be in the city I lived in.

That particular piece of information of course resulted in a prompt disconnection.

Goodbye telemarketer !

Apparently this telemarketing company had not considered that a large percentage of Ottawa residents are in the public service industry and may be employed by the the following or may now someone who is employed by the following :

I am a regular reader of RedFlagDeal’s contest forum so I enter contests frequently. But even I keep track of the contests I enter and having won numerous contests I know the following :

  • The sponsor or sponsors of contests contact winners directly, usually via their public relations department, legal department or department assigned to contests.
  • This representative knows where you have entered the contest because he or she has to know whether you agreed to comply with the rules of the contest (or not) and answered a skill testing question correctly (or not).
  • Contests are for publicity so no sponsor would ever ask their identity to be concealed. It would be counterproductive and they couldn’t write the contest off as an advertising expense with Revenue Canada or the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Prizes are NOT taxed in Canada or subject to any fees. In the province of Quebec the publicity contests fees are paid by the sponsor in advance in exchange for the right to advertise the contest in that province.
  • There are NO legal fees incurred in awarding a prize. Whatever expenses the sponsor incurred in running the contest is written off as a promotional expense because contests are promotional. These expenses include delivery (shipping & handling) and any customs fees & duties paid by the sponsor, if any.
  • You are NOT required to pay customs fees on prizes to the sponsor or sponsor’s representative. It is Canada Post or the courier (Fed-Ex/UPS) that collects and processes customs fees on Revenue Canada’s behalf, if any, when the prize is physically received by you from a foreign address.
  • The sponsor or representative should be able to provide a link to the rules and regulations that you had allegedly read online as a condition to enter their contest, upon request. These rules and regulations need to comply to our Federal, Provincial and Municipal laws to be valid.

Basically if the caller is loud, obnoxious, argumentative, dismissive and/or cheap, I tend to suspect he or she is a con artist.

And BTW, just after the call I had found out that my Facebook profile privacy settings had been changed allowing everyone to view my birth date. Check your settings !

Scalpers VS Smart Chips

BBC News reports that Live Nation UK is experimenting with new smart chip technology that would identify ticket purchasers.

This technology, which may make paper tickets obsolete, is embedded in specially manufactured wristbands that are unique and may enable concert goers to purchase food and drink, according to Live Nation UK.

These “digital wristbands” will first be introduced at festivals in the UK but could make their way to concerts in Great Britain if they are successful. And perhaps they will make their way to North America, Ticketmaster and Live Nation having merged in late January in the states, creating Live Nation Entertainment.

There is some concern in regards to the ability to re-sell these wristbands online though, a concern that Ticketmaster would need to address to promote the re-selling of these wristbands via their TicketsNow subsidiary.

Would the editing of the information contained on the chip be difficult, hindering the resale of these wristbands ? Or would these wristbands simply be reissued instead with amended or updated information ?

I guess the pilot project will help answer these questions.

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Live Nation Merchandise

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3D Concerts at Home ?

Samsung has just released their 3D TV televisions and Blu-Ray players in Canada via Bestbuy and Futureshop. And Sony will be releasing 3D televisions in Canada on June 25th via Sony Style Canada.

This technology will not only display 3D images from 3D broadcasts and Blu-Ray discs but will also simulate 3D from normal HDTV broadcasts and Blu-Ray discs, which is good because there aren’t that many 3D concerts and films out there on Blu-Ray yet.

I suspect we will seeing a few IMAX concerts on Blu-Ray soon, including the Rolling Stones, Jonas Brothers and U2 concerts that have been featured at the IMAX theaters, but I’m guessing that wont be seeing many of these releases until the technology becomes a standard, especially from lesser re-known performers.

But I bet Queen Rock Montreal and Live-Aid and Heart: Dreamboat Annie Live would look great in 3D.

Speaking of Queen and U2, “Queen Live In Montreal” will premiere on Treasure HD tonight at 8PM EST and “U2 – Rattle & Hum” will air on that channel on April 30th at 10pm EST.

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