Friday, February 26

"Rainbow" is not a dirty word.

COMING SOON: "A Queer Reading Of Everything! Part 1." My awesome sister Stas suggested I do this series of posts, since I habitually read absolutely everything as gayfully as possible. It's just a hobby. Some people do arts and crafts, I get my kick out of reading carefully chosen lines of (mostly, innocuously hetero) books, placing them out of context, and putting "if you know what I mean" [waggles eyebrows] at the end of them. It's great fun and takes up most weekends! Part One will be entitled "Moby Dick: It's Just Too Easy."

And now, for a rant about capitalist fuckheads:

Surely, as those who have the (collective) intelligence to own and operate a huge website dedicated to people listening to stuff, whoever's beneath the chicken suit that is would be just clever enough to think, "Hey, for people to listen to stuff, it needs to be in a format their listening-to-stuff gadgets can recognise!"

Apparently not.

Because money makes people seriously, irreparably stupid. In this case, Audible have decided to make a very special audio format of their very own called .aa, in which ALL of their audio books are sold. No, they can't make it in standard mp3, because then it would be too 'shareable', there would be too many rainbows in the world, and the universe would implode.

What pisses me off is that I only stumble across this idiotic problem when I've given them my credit card details, downloaded their software (really, because my RAM wants more random programs slowing it down) and put their trial file on my mp3 player. It's not recognised.

I then look back and realise this bloody file is .aa, so I go "cool, I'll just use Format Factory."
"I'll just download a program that converts it to mp3. Can't be that hard."
Apparently, converting it straight-out is illegal, because of the whole sharing rainbows universe imploding thing.

So, I eventually find a teeny tiny paragraph in their help file that says meekly, "Oh by the way, our files aren't in mp3 format... but that's okay because iPods and R4000 smartphones can read our format!"

Next I go to the forums. Countless stories of people who PAID for audiobooks (they're not cheap either, any good stuff is roughly the same price as hardcopy) and can't get a refund because, deep in the bowels of their help files, Audible says this format isn't supported on all mp3 players.

Thank greatness I'm just using the 2 week free trial and I discovered this problem with my "complimentary" (yes, thank you for raising my blood pressure and wasting my night) book credit, which I'm using for Moby Dick. Alas, I do actually need to finish it before I can offer a complete queer reading.

Now, I'll admit that Charlie (my mp3 player) isn't the snazziest monkey in the tree. He's a JNC ipod-knockoff and despite the box he came in stating "MP4 PLAYER" he doesn't exactly... play mp4's. But he plays mp3's just fine! And you'll find him in pretty much every CNA and computer store in South Africa, so he's not exactly a rare model.

Suddenly, having an mp3 player and the money to buy an audiobook just isn't enough. You have to have a top-of-the-line gadget to play the damn thing. And that, right there, is capitalist imperialism at work. It's. Just. Not. Right.

Luckily, on the same forums I did find a (non-shady) way to get my mp3's. By burning the .aa files to an (emulated) CD and ripping them back to mp3 format from there. I still have to personally try this but it seems doable.

Yeah, doable. And really irritating, long-winded, troublesome and deeply unnecessary in a rational world, where (in my pseudo-anarchist opinion) it's perfectly okay to have a little friendly file-sharing. And one too many rainbows.

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