Saturday, January 10, 2009

I read that Blu-ray has won the HD war but is now facing death because of the threat from the downloading or streaming of HD format films direct from the internet. This is disturbing as I don’t even know what Blu-ray is. It’s a fast world. Either that or I am increasingly out of touch.

Well, I couldn’t find any articles in the print media on the demonstration down in Andalucia yesterday. Not even in El Mundo, which you might think would relish having a stick with which to beat both central and regional socialist administrations. But snow has reduced Madrid to complete chaos so there are obviously far more important things with which to fill newspaper pages. But I did find this article in the on-line edition of El País. Apart from the opening loaded sentence, it seems quite fair. Though somehow the word ‘corruption’ doesn’t make an appearance. That said, I guess the inferences are clear. At least from the comments of disaffected Brits they quote.

Talking of words . . . Who knows what the Spanglish ‘copyleft’ means? I certainly don’t.

Addressing the question of why the Tories in the UK are making only a slightly better fist of pinning the blame for the country’s economic plight on the government than the PP party is doing in Spain, a British columnist has this to say about Mr Brown’s predecessor:- “Still mesmerised by Tony Blair, the Tories have failed to notice that Mr Blair's reputation is gradually fading, his legacy in tatters, and the last thing that the British electorate wants is a return to the slick and dishonest politics of Mr Blair's new Labour Mark I, or a Prime Minister who reminds them of him.” I do hope I live long enough to see whether I’ve been right to say – for years now – that history [or History, as it’s called in Spain] will be very unkind to New Labour in general and Mr Blair in particular. And to become an even bigger embarrassment to my daughters than I was when they were young.

Meanwhile, I’ve just taken delivery of ten books from Amazon, three of which happen to be on Spain’s history/History but only one on Britain’s. Anyway, it got me thinking about the Spanish government’s trumpeted campaign against bureaucracy. Unless things have changed, in the UK, the postperson rings your bell and then hands you the Amazon delivery. And that’s it. Here, you take your box, put it down and then fill in a form with your ID number, your surname and your signature. At least, it used to be a form but today it was a little black box, on the screen of which I had to scribble all these details with a snazzy stylus. This is impressively hi-tech but it still leaves the question – Why? What is it about Spain that makes it necessary for there to be more formalities than in the UK? And what happens in the USA? Or France. Or Holland, etc. BTW – The Spanish postperson never checks the accuracy of my details and signature. Which is just as well.

As for the books themselves . . . Well, there are ten of them and I finally plumped for Henry Kamen’s “The Disinherited – The exiles who created Spanish culture” to tackle first. This promises to be a fascinating read and I will have to resist the temptation to make regular quotes. Like this one in the Preface:- “In Spain, the rejection of outside culture is a persistent tradition that can still be found in the Spanish mind. It has its origins in a folk memory stretching back nearly five centuries and firmly rejects all that is associated with foreign civilisation as tainted.” Even more interesting is the point that, in all Europe, only Spain has a tradition of consolidating its culture via a policy of exclusion, rather than one of offering shelter. I feel almost insulted not to have been exiled . . .


mike the trike said...

I order a lot using the internet and when the postman arrives I use my NIE or either one of my two passports because I have dual nationality. As it is the same postman, he hasn't said anything about it yet and I wonder has he even noticed.

Midnight Golfer said...

Blu-ray: still not feasible at its current asking price. The only TV's that are capable of actually showing an image large enough and sharp enough to truly appreciate the improvement in quality over normal DVDs are much too expensive, IMHO.
They are still just a stupid plastic disk, that will be completely ruined by a scratch (just like CD's or DVD's)
My current solution is having a credit card with a billing address in the U.S. allowing me to maintain an account on the iTunes store, where I can rent or buy movies (etc) without moving from my sofa here in Málaga. I used to purchase T.V. shows this way, until I justified that these were free to me back in the States, and broadcast for free over the public airwaves. So I use bit torrent for T.V. shows, and now Jazztel has throttled down my bandwidth to about half of what it was before I started using torrents. I have the 3Megabit plan, but I would pay more and get 20Megabit, but their faster coverage still doesn't reach the building I live in, yet.

I had not heard of 'copyleft' but from what I have found searching for it online, I'm led to believe that it may be a French invention..."It arose from the “Copyleft Attitude” meetings which took place in Paris in 2000."
Not that I blame them, but this seems pretty typical of what I have encountered here in Spain as well, and I'm certain that kids back in the U.S. don't pay any attention to the F.B.I. warnings at the beginning of the movies they watch (steal on bit torrent.)
It's easy to share artwork for free (copyleft) when nobody would pay to see it otherwise, or the government makes it free to view, by paying for it out of the taxes it collects from everyone (copywrong)

As far as receiving packages in the U.S. - USPS, FedEx, DHL, and UPS have often left packages on the front porch, when the sender did not request verification, and smaller packages went right in the old mailbox out at the street.
If the sender required a signature all of these delivery services have simply had an electronic tablet with a stylus in order to simply sign.
I've never been asked for I.D. and I've never been left a slip of paper that said that I had to go pick up my package in person at the Post Office. I have been left a sticker on the front door, letting me know when they would try to deliver the package again, that I could sign, or write a note telling them I agree that my neighbor could accept delivery for me.

Midnight Golfer said...

I think mike has a point about ordering enough so that the delivery person gets to know you.

Keefieboy said...

I've recieved stuff from DHL & UPS and only had to give a signature, not an ID number. What is worrying me greatly right now is the idea (or possibly, it's beyond an idea and is heading into law) that ISPs will be required to keep a copy of every email that passes through their servers for many years, and make them available to 'who, exactly?' upon request. 4 FUXAKE - can the Royal Mail legally read your post? Methinks not.


moscow said...

When you go to live in France you will realise that things are much more like in Spain than the UK. In my experience the UK is the country with least bureaucracy, and, in this sense, it is lightyears ahead of everybody else.
it is the issue of trust we mentioned, but also a different cultural tradition to the rest of Europe - as a whole. I am sure you are aware of it, and I won't bore you with the details. It all starts with Bacon and Empiricism.

Sierra said...

Is "copyleft" the Spanish equivalent of "ragged right", namely, how the typing is set-out on your blog, with a straight rule on the left and the length of lines being unequal - as opposed to being "justified" (straight margins both sides)?

Regarding deliveries from UK, I'm still surprised at the number of suppliers there who will not deliver to Spain. Given the current state of the UK economy, it seems strange they are ignoring the expat. market

mike the trike said...

Sierra is correct and a number of electronic items from Amazon are not allowed either.

Colin said...

Yes, Warehouse Express used to deliver here but don't now. Perhaps there were problems of slow or nil delivery. Of fraudulent cards. Hard to see why they would willingly forego income.

See tonight for Copyleft . . . .

Colin said...

But, MG, what are torrents . . . ?

Bill said...


In case you are not aware of it there is an excellent Almeria-based blog which covered the demonstration in detail:

relevant posts here:

The 'Eye on Spain' forum has more:

Hope this helps :)

Happy New Year ...

Bill said...

Hi Colin

By the way, there is another useful Almeria-based blog here, which perhaps may be of interest to you:


Colin said...


Thanks for this. I have DJ in my Google Reader.


How does one qualify for the heating payments as a non-resident?


Thanks for all this info. Appreciated.


No, the Royal Mail can't read your mail. Even postcards. But for libel law purposes it's assumed he/she does and so your slanders are not 'private'. At least this used to be the situation . . . Now I imagine they slit open everything, which would explain the deterioration in the service over the last couple of decades.