Complain all you want about the state of the world, but overall, we have it pretty good. Back when your parents were free to entertain themselves with night after night of sloppy, sweaty sex because you hadn’t yet come along to crush their hopes and dreams, things weren’t quite as cushy as they are now.
Back in their day, if you were concerned about what that nagging pain in your side was, you actually had to go to the doctor. If you wanted to watch porn, you had to put a tape in a VCR. And if you wanted information, you had to go to a library. Gross!
But the internet changed all that. Nowadays, almost anything you could ever need is right at your fingertips and, in some cases, you don’t even have to pay for it! That’s why it boggles the mind that people actually still spend money on some things. For example…
Please understand, I didn’t use a photo of Nickelback here because when I think of music they are the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, I consider what they do less music and more Canadian terrorism. That’s why no band drives the point of this entry home better. Right now, in 2010, there are people among us who are spending their hard earned dollars (or whatever make believe currency Canada uses) on Nickelback albums. Nickelback albums, Dave Matthews Band albums, Heidi Montag albums and albums by every other conceivable artist on the planet. Ok, maybe not Heidi Montag albums.
But despite all of the talk of “the death of the music industry” people are still spending millions each year on music. Why? Music, in 2010, is like air. That s*** is free! All you need is an internet connection, which everyone who doesn’t expect to be weeded out by natural selection should have, and a computer. Same thing with movies! Free! It’s all free! And go ahead, say it — “some people can’t afford computers you jerk!” Well, then they shouldn’t be buying CD’s now, should they? Maybe set that cash aside and pick up an eMachine like a responsible adult.
Sure, there are some legal concerns to consider, but I’m not suggesting you upload music. That’s when the RIAA steps in. But if the government threw a stun grenade through the window of every person who ever stole a Decemberists mp3 from the internet — they’d have thrown about three stun grenades to date. Ha! Get it?!?! Because nobody listens to the Decemberists! But all kidding aside, the Feds are way too busy pretending not to know where Bin Laden is to be concerned about your music collection. As for all of those moms and grandparents that you hear about being sued, it’s usually because someone forgot to turn off the “share” function in Limewire. And let’s be honest, if you’re still using Limewire, you deserve punishment of some sort anyway. As for the rest of you, put your cash away and fire up uTorrent while you still can. In these tough economic times, your pocketbook will thank you.
Magazines. Do they even make these things anymore? If Crenshaw, the man-servant that was bestowed upon me after becoming part of the internet media elite (we all get one) is to be believed, then yes, they do. He often regales me with tales of seeing these glossy, printed dinosaurs roaming grocery store aisles and hospital gift shops by the rack on those rare occasions when I allow him to leave my internet comedy compound.
Where comedy lives.
As Crenshaw speaks and I nod in and out of an opium induced stupor, I often find myself wondering, who the hell is still buying magazines? When was the last time you read information that was exclusive to one magazine? Whatever Rolling Stone has to say about the Jonas Brothers has most likely already been said by TMZ or, even more likely, by Rolling Stone on their absolutely free website. And you don’t have to wait weeks for it to hit the newsstands before you can read it. It’s just right there, on the internet, waiting for you to check it out.
Of course, the same thing can technically be said about books. Most of them can be found online somewhere ripe for the stealing, be it in e-book form or audiobook or whatever. But books are different. Books are a singular experience that you can’t achieve through any other medium. Books are important and should be left intact and produced for our enjoyment. Plus, being seen reading a book makes you look smart to chicks who wear glasses and stuff. Magazines, on the other hand, well, there’s nothing sacred about a magazine. They are disposable. You read them and discard them. You don’t save them and build a library with them like you would with books. Unless they have titties in them, of course.
It’s a damn shame that I even have to include this one on the list. Almost as soon as the internet was introduced to the general public, the wheels were set in motion to turn it into one big porn delivery system. It is so prevalent on the internet that security measures were implemented to prevent advertisements for it from just popping up on the screen without warning. When was the last time you were out walking the dog or something and a flyer advertising barely legal sluts just caught the wind and flew into your face? Doesn’t happen too often, does it? But on the internet? Go ahead, disable your pop up blocker and see what happens.
Like this, except with boobs.
Sure, a lot of these sites require you to enter your credit card information and check the box that authorizes a conglomerate of Russian mobsters to use it to finance their child trafficking operation, but just as many porn sites are absolutely free. And of those free sites, only a few of them will infect your computer with a debilitating virus that would have the Geek Squad contemplating a career in small appliance sales! Find those sites and save yourself some serious cash. Only rapists actually leave the house to shop for porn. You’re not a rapist, are you?
Have you ever logged onto your Facebook page and posted a status update asking your friends for tips on how to increase gas mileage? Have you ever used your Facebook page to ask your friends for advice on anything? Guess what, all of your friends now hate you. You know why? Because you’re on the internet. And instead of using the internet for what it’s best at, finding information, you’re bothering your friends and family with your inane queries.
Stop it. There is a reason “Google” has become a verb. Take this most recent member of the action-word community and put it into action. Don’t bother those around you with your stupid questions and, for the love of God, unless you’re hearing voices or contemplating suicide, don’t pay anyone to answer your stupid questions either.
Exception to the rule.
Sure, there are people out there who still say “you can’t believe everything you read on the internet,” and they’re correct. But they also have panic attacks at the thought of operating a universal remote control, because those people are your grandparents. The days of viewing any information gleaned from the internet as suspect ended a long time ago.
True story: about a year ago, I accidentally spilled a huge glass of red wine on my carpet. Guess what the internet told me? Hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap (the blue kind) will take that stain right out! And the internet wasn’t lying! Nowadays, the only sign of my rampant alcoholism you’ll find in my apartment is a garbage can full of Steel Reserve cans. Thanks, internet! I knew I could trust you.
1. Adobe Photoshop CS4
You’re probably thinking that a more general “software” entry would work better here, but you’re wrong. Stealing software from the internet isn’t the same as downloading a movie or music. Unlike movie or music files, pirated software has to be activated before you can use it. It’s during that activation process where all hell can break loose. Anyone who has ever tried it can attest to the overall shadiness involved in activating pirated software. 9 times out of 10, the program (usually called a keygen) used to activate the software comes with one of the two following disclaimers:
- Your anti-virus software may indicate that the keygen is a trojan. It isn’t.
- Disable your anti-virus software prior to activation.
Following instructions like that on the internet is about as safe as trusting Whitney Houston to hold your cocaine. Also, those keygen programs almost always have some form of obnoxious Midi music embedded in them. Nobody needs to put up with that kind of geekery. But with all this said, there is one program worth rolling the internet piracy dice on — Adobe Photoshop.
If you need a powerful image manipulation program, your non-piracy choices are pretty limited. You can either pay $4,000 (0r whatever it costs these days, I wouldn’t know) for Photoshop, or you can use the absolutely free Gimp program like some kind of internet hobo. Those are both horrible options. Instead, just go ahead and give stealing a copy of Photoshop a shot. What’s the worst that could happen? Your computer gets destroyed by some malicious program? Big deal, replacing it is probably still cheaper than actually buying Photoshop.