Month: November 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Annie, Veronica, and I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the Senator Theater in Baltimore yesterday. The first thing that struck me—as well as most of the critics—about the newest Harry Potter is how much darker the subject matter is when compared to the earlier films. This Potter installment finally breaks free of the “kid’s movie” label. As Roger Ebert notes, “the film is more violent, less cute than the others, but the action is not the mindless destruction of a video game; it has purpose, shape and style.” Granted, but on a side note, sophisticated video games can have those traits too.

I had never been inside the Senator Theater on York Road before we went to see Goblet of Fire, but now I know that I’ve been missing out on something great. The inside of the historic theater looks spectacular, with lighting and an attention to detail that’s missing from a lot of more recent architecture. The most shocking part of the whole experience, however, was the live, on-stage announcement of the previews, upcoming events, and a little information about the theater for new visitors. I could hardly believe it when it happened.

Alienating Customers

If you run a business and are looking to alienate your customers, just do exactly what the music industry does. You can’t fail with this method. More information about Sony BMG’s XCP was released today as several security firms confirmed that some Sony CD’s installed rootkit malware on users computers.

The software installs itself without the user’s knowledge and continues to run invisibly in the background. In addition, it creates vulnerabilities to viruses that may not be detectable by anti-virus programs and provides no means for uninstallation without disabling the CD-ROM drive or crippling the system if the rootkit files are manually deleted. The EFF explains what CD’s are infected and what to do.

Sony BMG claims the “software” is designed to prevent illegal ripping and distribution of its songs, but several analysts suggest that Sony is reeling from the decline of the DiscMan and the rise of the iPod. If you can’t rip a CD, you can’t play it on your iPod. The unbelievable anti-consumerism of the music industry infuriates me. If, as you claim—and I don’t believe—your sales are down, you should improve your product and put a priority on great customer service. You don’t, as the music industry has repeatedly done, sue your customers, lie to them, limit their listening habits, refuse to offer music in new mediums, hack into their computers, or install dangerous software.