I bought some music from Amazon yesterday. It has been a while since I have done this, so I was unaware of the changes they have made to their process. Once I bought the songs, I was asked if I wanted to launch the cloud player. There was no second choice so I agreed. Then I was informed my cloud player was out of date and I was asked if I wanted to download the latest. The only choice was yes.
Eventually, the cloud player opened and I saw my songs. Nice. A little looking around at the new interface I saw that the songs were in the cloud, not on my PC. I’m a prime user, but I don’t use the cloud service. I had configured my account originally to automatically download music purchases. Amazon decided we needed to take our relationship to the next level and changed that for me.
A little fiddling and I am able to download them. Not exactly. I kept hitting the download button and nothing happened. This was starting to remind me of every long term relationship I’ve ever had with a woman. I try again and I’m informed I have to change my settings. OK, we’re definitely in a relationship now. I fiddle with this for a while and I get no where. Well, I get frustrated. I guess that is somewhere.
I take a look at where I save my music and discover it is restricted for some reason. I then remember I was trying to get my PC to talk to my XBox. In order to do that I had to have an extended exchange with Microsoft Media Center and my XBox. I probably spent two hours trying to get that to work so I could play a video. I ended up watching it on my PC after two hours of dealing with Microsoft.
Somewhere in the process, Media Center locked down all of my media folders. I guess this is Microsoft telling me they are jealous of my relationship with iTunes and Amazon. And yes, iTunes was not working now because it could not read those directories. I also noticed that Media Center had created a new user on my system. I guess this is for the XBox to talk to my PC. Who knows? Microsoft is such a jealous mistress.
Anyway, I unriddle all of this and fixed the permissions. I finally download my music and my transaction with Amazon was complete. I still have the cloud player on there and I have to get rid of the crappy Microsoft junk that caused all of this. The point of all this is it is getting increasingly difficult to have a transactional relationship with these companies. They expect a much deeper relationship.
I’m not interested in building a relationship with Amazon. I just want to buy my stuff and move on. The word “share” has become this screaming siren, warning you that some multinational is about to waste hours of your time trying to get to know you. By “getting to know you” I mean gathering up details about your life that they will use to “monetize” you down the road. Monetize means ease you into a situation where they get to skim money from your wallet at will and sell your personal information to other skimmers.
This is the world in which we find ourselves as “citizens” in late empire America. You cannot be left alone. If you want to do just about anything, you have to have a relationship with some company that is usually working hand and glove with the state to “nudge” you in the direction they prefer. Simple transactions like buying a song suddenly turn into elaborate time wasting exorcises. The great tech boom has resulted in the exact opposite of what libertarian technologists promised thirty years ago.