Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U2 HIJACKED MY iCLOUD!! And other petty complaints...

In 1987, I fell deeply in love with U2. And, well, Bono. I saw Rattle and Hum five times in the theatre, and the day it came out on video (yes, video) I bought it and watched it 15 times in the first week. I finally saw them live in 1992 for the first time, and it was life-changing. I saw them three of the four nights of the Vertigo tour. I was standing on Soldier's Field in Chicago in 2009 for the first show of the 360 tour, right against the stage, and blogged about the experience here. A few weeks later, I was up against the stage once again in Toronto, and got a killer photo of Bono reaching his arm right down to me:

So yeah. I'm a fan. That said, I don't think they've done much in the way of interesting music in the last decade. I barely even noticed their last tour, much less went to see them on it. I think they've moved so far away from the political beliefs and so far into the pocket of whatever large corporation can afford them that they've lost some of their shine.

But I still love Bono. I think he's one of the most charismatic people in the world, and he's also humble, despite what people think. You see him in interviews and he often turns them around, seemingly more fascinated with the interviewer. He never talks over the interviewer, and looks like he's just as interested in what that person has to say as the interviewer is in him. I watched Charlie Rose interview him last  year and Bono seemed nervous in Charlie's presence.

Last week, the U2 album popped into my husband's iTunes. I don't connect to the Cloud (not out of some personal privacy thing, I just don't have any need to usually) so he just transferred it over to me so I'd have a copy. I haven't gotten around to listening to it, and frankly, I don't know what anyone thinks of it.

All I know is, the world is totally pissed off that U2 would go and do this horrible, terrible, no-good thing and GIVE THEM THEIR ALBUM FOR FREE.

How dare they?

How dare they just go into my iTunes library — which Apple provided to me for free — and just pop that sucker in there so I don't have to pay for it? So I don't have to go to the store and buy the CD, or go into iTunes myself, hand over my credit card number and purchase it into my dock. It's just... THERE.

But hey, HEY, I didn't ask for it. It's like someone stuck a Michael Bolton album through my mail slot, invading the privacy of my home and offending my entire record collection. I could just throw it in the garbage or give it to my mother-in-law, but instead I WILL TWEET ANGRILY ABOUT IT.

Twenty years ago, before we were so easily offended on Twitter and complaining about everything on Facebook and up in arms about things via email, if someone were standing on every street corner of the world handing out the latest U2 CD, we would have been in shock. I just got handed the latest album by the world's biggest band... for FREE. Seriously? Is this a trick? Am I supposed to do something for this? It's FREE?! Wow, I don't even like U2 but I'll take it.

But people are screaming their privacy has been breached. Someone got onto their computer and sneaked an album onto it. One they didn't even want.

So... don't listen to it.

Shrug, go about your day, and don't listen to it. Or maybe flip it on and see if it's the sort of thing you'd like. Apple owns iTunes. They let you have that service for free. You pay to load Photoshop onto your computer; you pay for a license for Microsoft Word on your computer. But iTunes? It's just there. And why wouldn't it be; it's access to Apple's online store for music and games and TV, so of course they want you to have it on there because it means more money for them.

And they stuck that album in your iCloud so it would drop onto your phone or computer the next time you connected to it, because they're just one of those bands that everyone has liked at one time or another. Maybe not anymore, but they figured it would be the least offensive thing to give you.

For free.

Let's just keep remembering that: people are complaining that they were given something FOR FREE.

Yes, I understand privacy concerns and that the very Cloud that just got breached is the same one that caused intimate photos of Jennifer Lawrence to suddenly appear online, which was a horrifying abuse of what should have been her private space.

But your phone didn't get hacked. Nothing was stolen from your computer. Something was given to it. And you can delete it, as many websites have popped up to show you.

Anger and empty vitriol is contagious. Witness how many people freaked out over Facebook Messenger and began sending around articles to all their FB friends about the privacy hack that Messenger causes. One could have actually gone looking for a real article where the headline wasn't in the vicinity of "Facebook wants you to use Messenger: and you won't believe what happens next" click bait variety, and instead told you the truth — that there are no privacy issues, and that people need to calm the frick down and actually stop spreading fear mongering and perhaps just take a look at their own privacy settings — but it was too late. One friend posted the articles, the others read it with horror and posted it to their own pages, and other people deleted it from their phones and then said they were no longer using FB (I can't tell you how many people in the past few weeks on my FB feed have posted announcements that they are deleting it from their phone) and the truth no longer mattered. What mattered was that the mob mentality said it was bad, and therefore it was bad.

I just wish I could go a week without watching people complain about problems that don't matter. Every day our parents are dying, mothers are losing their children to one disease or another, people are starving, people are stuck in abusive and unhappy relationships. And we're complaining that Apple just gave us a free CD, goddammit, and it's from a band I don't even frickin' like.

And UGH I hate Steven Moffat and everything he's done to Doctor Who. I wish he would just leave the show and they would return to high quality television like "Blink" or "The Empty Child" or "Silence in the Library." o_O

And honestly, the Starbucks barista spelled my name wrong AGAIN on my cup. It's Jack. How do you get that wrong?!

And I can't believe that iTunes is going to charge me 99 cents for this app when it was free last week, this is the WORST!! (How much was that Starbucks coffee you just got again?)

And if my neighbour parks her car in front of my house again, I'm going to smash in her windshield.

Of course, I just spend several hundred words complaining about people complaining in my feed, so I'm no better at this point. ;) I think I'm going to try to return to my weekly habit of posting about things I loved this week. It made me feel good, and it also helped me to focus on those little happy things, and not the aggravating things.

Look, I complain about things as much as the next guy; any one of my friends will tell you that. Griping sessions are fun. And bitching about everything that annoyed you that week is a pastime we've all taken part in. But it can also be harmful to you; being so easily offended has become who we are as human beings. Let's try to be offended less, and take joy in the happy things.

I mean, Apple did NOT put Michael Bolton's Greatest Hits in my iTunes without asking me. That has GOT to make people happy, right?!


Ashlie Hawkins said...


Anonymous said...

Great point, but what shocks me about this entry is that you still haven't listened to Songs of Innocence when it's easily the best thing they've put out since Joshua Tree. I didn't think so at first, but keep listening....now I can't stop. #ReturnToForm

Nikki Stafford said...

Anonymous: LOL! Actually, I'm listening to it right now. I thought after that post, "I really should listen to this thing!" ;) Enjoying it so far.

Katie said...

I didn't even realize that they simply placed it onto people's clouds. I was one of those people who actually tried to go into iTunes to get it (NON-U2 FANS, PLEASE DON'T THROW THINGS AT ME). I don't see this being more intrusive than any number of ads we're forced to consume on a daily basis. Do people realize they are tracked online to the point where ad companies can probably put together a pretty decent DNA composite of them? On the other hand, in light of all the issues with the cloud (ie. it getting hacked), I can see where concern would arise.

Unknown said...

Andrew Sullivan tackled this this morning and some fairly good points were raised.


Fred said...

Okay, it's U2. Not much problem with that. And all the security issues aside, I'd be more worried about Apple Wallet being hacked, and how many promos are going to be dropped into the Cloud to get me to buy something as I walk by a store? Leaving the question of hacking aside, I am sure Apple will see how many people delete or keep Songs of Innocence and use that Big Data for commercial reasons. How do U2 fans profile? Would they vote "Yes" in the Scottish vote? Do they drive Audi or are they more inclined to anticipate Google's driverless car? Are they inclined to buy the Apple watch, or do they go for past models like Cartier or just Tag Heuer? But the biggest problem I see with this is that it may be out-of-date (yikes, iTunes an outdated service model?). Why do we need an album, even a free one, when we can build playlists from streaming services. A lot of this began when people began to use YouTube as a jukebox. It may be Tim Cook is not as genius as thought. Personally, I was hoping Apple would unveil a glass phone--Samsung is already on this.

Page48 said...

I deleted SOI, but not because I was offended or outraged at the free offer. I gave it a quick listen and it just doesn't appeal to me the way much earlier U2 did.

I used to have an old Honda Accord and it ate one of my "Rattle & Hum" tapes, but not before I played it to the exclusion of everything else in the free world for about 2 years. I've had to repurchase R&H about 4 times on various media over the years, but I have a very hard time appreciating anything I've heard from Bono and the Boys since the early 90's.

So, thanks, Apple for the freebie, but I'll pass. Not offended, not going to smash my iPad in protest, just passing on the offer. Keep me in mind for the next one.

And, yes, in the course of trying to figure out how to delete SOI, I followed an incredibly vitriolic thread somewhere on the interwebs. People were not only pissed at U2 and Apple, but were practically brawling with each other. Seriously people???

Yup, Silver and Gold.

Nikki Stafford said...

Apple needed to release a gif of Bono going, "Am I buggin' ya? Don't mean to BUG ya." Heehee!