News for December 2020

Dubious at Best

We continously hear from politicians and the religious right (every time there is a school shooting, the topic surfaces) of the dangers of video games on children/youth. With 2020’s news cycle, the topic has obviously been pushed out of primetime for larger, more important issues.

Of note, while there certainly is a link between tv violence and youth impact, other forms of entertainment throughout history consistently fail to prove a strong correlation to youth behavior/psychology.

Video Games look more and more to be joining the realm of Music and Books as a force which fails to show correlation to aggression.

Yet another study from Stetson University (as a follow-up from another 2015 study from the American Psychological Association) shows again – no substantative link. “Dubious at Best”.

Consider this quip at the end:

“Games are now more important than ever for socialization, feeling autonomy and control during an uncertain time, and just de-stressing”

Game On.

Posted: December 31st, 2020
Categories: entertainment, kids, tech, tv
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Firestick Mafia

So this is just stupid on many levels (newsarticle out of Florida) where the Sheriff is announcing his department’s ‘take-down’ of what seems to be some sort of Amazon Firestick Mafia. This group of flea-market sellers were selling “Jail-Broken” Firesticks for streaming via Amazon.

Okay – “Jailbreaking” a firestick sounds like tech wizardry. Granted, jailbreaking really became prominent hacking vernacular years ago with the iPhone. That process was a bit more subverse – with resetting the idevice, installing other apps, security adjustments, pirating aps, etc. The process for ‘jailbreaking’ a firestick is literally clicking one box in the device’s settings – see below.

True – once you do this, you can install Kodi, VPNs, etc – but there is nothing ‘illegal’ about a Firestick that has this option (third party apps) selected.

The context here is what one does with the device once the portal has been opened. What irks me on this piece is how giddy the Sheriff is, announcing the take-down of these grandmas.

Also wild is the fact that there is a market for this. This group figured out how to click a menu item and were selling the device for 2x street value? A user not doing their research, but who wants to stream from the apps that can now be installed, is drawn to a pre-“hacked” version. I would be inclined to think that if they can’t figure out how to click this menu item to open the device’s streaming options, they probably won’t be able to figure out how/where to get the aps or how to use.

I’m not saying I support the jailbreaking or that I support the streaming with third party aps … I’m just saying this Press Conference is silly when you really look into the device and its settings. It’s not like we have the cartel here. Yes, a user is subvertting the proper channels to be able to view paid content – but why the hell does Amazon leave the option on the device? If they wanted to curtail/eliminate the activity, maybe they should make the option less simplistic?

And the fact that the Sheriff is holding a press conference to announce how they took down the granny cartel is a bit preposterous. He really seems giddy over his team’s sleuthing. The old addage of “Don’t you have better things to do” (I remember hearing my dad say that the few times he was pulled over) rings a little true here.


Posted: December 30th, 2020
Categories: crime, products, tech
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