CRRRaSh! 268 Jeff Bezos, You Suck

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-05-27, at 00:01:06 to 01:23:59 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Jeff Bezos, You Suck: Amazon to Sell Facial Recognition Software to US Cops, Continues to Not Care About the Planet, Its Workers, or Selling Racist Products

I'm leading with a tech story in the preshow section this week, because Amazon has featured somewhat regularly lately.

All activist shareholder proposals were rejected on Wednesday's AGM for Amazon. Those included selling facial recognition software to US cops, being kinder to the environment, generally being better employers, and item 8, of special interest to me, regarding Amazon's continued sale of products promoting hate.

And it's not just fair and square capitalism either. Last month the Securities and Exchange Commission had to prevent Amazon trying to stop shareholders voting about Rekognition.

But, back to my problem with Amazon, item 8, it comes as no surprise then that they strung along my customer complaint about such products for about a month now. I've talked this to death, but in brief, Amazon still has third party merchants selling Neo Nazi flags, pins, as well as other extremist material. If you want to hear what I said about this, listen to episode 261. I wish I could just avoid using Amazon, but that is impossible given their monopoly.

It doubly sucks because I'm bringing out a couple of eBooks, and, of course, Amazon's Kindle dominates the eBook market. It feels hypocritical to do so, but what other choice is there? I've kept this problem unresolved with their customer services as long as I could.

I've reached out to other media outlets, who don't care anymore because I suppose Amazon's been doing this for so long that it's become the norm. Which is what I warned! And I've tried shaming Amazon on Twitter into doing the right thing. None of which has worked. Frankly, I find it difficult to believe that no one in the media has reached out, but there you are.

Amazon told me that the results of their investigation are confidential, but that's nonsense, as this repulsive rubbish is still for sale. It may seem small potatoes, but somewhere out there nasty little merchants sell items promoting hatred and empowering extremists, and Amazon continues to take their cut... because of the power of the almighty buck.

I can't understand their problem with removing the items, as it violates Amazon's own terms and conditions. Lovely company.

This stupid thing has eaten away at me for a while, as I've gone from irate customer, to journalist (that no one actually wanted to print; thanks a lot), to activist, which really isn't my job. Anyway, I've done my bit and, in the absence of any support, or wanting to turn into a crank, I'm now finished with this. It's not just Amazon with a Nazi problem, is it Twitter? Yes, I'm not unaware of the irony of my use of the platform. Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey must be chums. Anyway, I am done with letting the pair live rent free in my head.

It does not mean that I won't keep talking about these things, or doing what little I can though this podcast. Let's keep the momentum going, but not make ourselves sick doing it. Let me know what you think.

Medical Mishaps

Let's Ramble... The GP's office rang me asking if I was okay given my large number of visits. I said no, and they referred me to a service that would call me the next day. Three weeks later? Big surprise; no call.

On the subject of medical mishaps, remember the dentist from hell in 204? (I think). Well, I read about a man who went into a coma, when a cut in his gum became infected after a trip to the dentist. He woke up from the coma minus arms, legs, and half his face, thanks to infection. I'm sure most medical professionals are skilled and well qualified, but in this case, none of the professionals actually realised what was happening until sepsis had well and truly set in. The chap survived and is getting better, but it is an incredible amount of trauma for a person to go through, just because of s silly slip-up. There's an NHS page on what to look for.

European Elections

We're still in Europe because a lot of non-nuts people, who aren't xenophobic want to stay in, and so we got to vote for MEPs this last week. Results will be out at 22:00 today.

I voted based on Remain United's plan recommendations for strategic voting for my area. I hope this is a step nearer to staying in the EU. I heard that, due to a mail cock up, some people were unable to vote. Suspicious or cock up? It's been a bit of a mess all-round. Let's boogie...

Brightburn's Stupid Release Schedule

Brightburn is out in the US, but not here for another month. But it hasn't stopped UK mainstream media flapping their big mouths about it. What. A. Bunch. Of. Idiots. And just to get their review out first, when most of their readers won't even see the film here for weeks.

Infuriating. Ultimately, it's the distributer's fault, and I really cannot understand why this has to happen. If you are a distributer, explain the madness to me. If you are an editor or journalist, just shut up, the lot of you.

John Wick 3, John Wick 4

No. I covered my thoughts on the first two films of the franchise in episodes 74 and 266. The story is thin, but I'm sure the action is fun.

In 1 and 2, Keanu showed good movie fighting skills from a wide variety of martial arts and grappling skills that you never really see on film, but I still sometimes saw the stunt people waiting for him to be ready before they attacked.

John Wick 3 is more of the same, but now all the other assassins are after him after he broke the code in 2... blah, blah, more of the same, and I suspect John Wick 4, to be released on May 21st 2021 will be too.

If you're not too fussy about combat scenes, you'll like John Wick. He has a great taste in cars and clothes, and he also loves dogs. I think I'm going to be sick.

Benioff and Weiss Star Wars

I mentioned this in 267, when talking about the GoT finale. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss must have impressed the right people, i.e. the money people because they are slated to make the first post-Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film.

Remember that hiatus Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned? Well, the new movie is scheduled for release on the December 16th 2022. Not much of a break.

It's also a controversial choice given mixed fan reactions to the last season of Game of Thrones. They always seem so plausible, when talking through their decisions on GoT "making of" segments, but then you see the execution, which doesn't always live up to explanations. Lesson? If you're a creative, know how to big yourself up; something I've always been terrible at, but I've met a few who can sell muck like it's brass.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Vanity Fair Photo Shoot

Vanity Fair recently assigned famous photographer Annie Leibovitz to capture a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In the Vanity Fair article, a few details are revealed about the new film.

We now know that Richard E. Grant is playing Allegiant General Pryde, which, frankly, is not a good name for a black garbed, jackboot wearing military officer working in a fascist organisation. I expect he's been set up to take a dramatic fall in the next movie.

We also learn about Zorn Bliss, a gorgeous looking bounty hunter--that outfit is insane--love the golden helmet. We also see the Knights of Ren, desert scenes, a prairie scene, a fight in a snow storm, Luke with R2D2 (Force ghost?)

I'm not sure these photos were necessary though. They don't spoil much, but for me, any spoiler is too much. I could have happily just waited for the movie. Zorn Bliss is lovely though. Serve me right if she's actually a changeling like Zam Wesell from Attack of the Clones.

Knights of the Old Republic and Obi-Wan Kenobi Movies

Based on the Bioware game series, Knights of the Old Republic, there's to be a new live action film set thousands of years before the events of the New Hope era. No. Don't care.

There's also Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a film of what Obi-Wan was doing while Luke was growing up on Tatooine. Really could not care less.

I love Star Wars, but I'm also fed up of having to justify that each time I shoot down another of these stupid cash grabs.

We need to understand that variety and creativity is good. I don't want to be stuck in the bubble of the 25th of May 1977 forever.

Indiana Jones Begins and Ends with Harrison Ford

Interviewed on NBC's Today show, Harrison Ford said he wants Indiana Jones to die with him.

You know what? He is right. See last item.

Akira Live Action Movie

Taika Waititi is to direct a live action Akira film. He says he will make a new film based on Katsuhiro Otomo's original manga, rather than rehash of the 1988 animated film. He says he is a childhood fan of the film, so he doesn't want to mess with that.

In development hell for years and originally supposed to star Leonardo DiCaprio (a horrible idea), who is now the producer.

I think it is unnecessary, but if it's going to happen, I hope it uses a Japanese cast and the Japanese language, and isn't a comedy. I'm not saying Waititi can only do comedy, but Akira is very dark.

Anyway, hasn't a lot of live action Akira already been done from the stuff Max Landis filched in Chronicle?

It is scheduled for release on 21st May 2021 (same as John Wick 4).

Killing Eve Season 2

Killing Eve, the BBC TV show, which we talked about in 209, was back for a second season from mid-April to Mid-May. (I presume it's still available in iPlayer).

It is about a British MI5 officer, played by Sandra Oh, trying to catch a Russian assassin, played very funnily by the excellent Jodie Comer. (She's going to be a star). It's a very funny black comedy you'll enjoy.

His Dark Materials

Upcoming BBC adaptation.

I never liked Lyra, most of the other characters, the dust story, or the worldbuilding. I liked the "Gyptian" canal people.

Read only a few pages of the first book and barely remember the movie. But I pay for a BBC licence, so I might at least give it a try when it is released late this year.

Good Omens

Another big BBC adaption, that starts at the end of this month, is Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett Good Omens.

It is a comedy about an angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and a demon Crowley (David Tennant) who try to prevent the biblical apocalypse.

The Big Bang Theory Finale

The elevator is finally fixed. The show is finally finished. Thank god.

In the absence of other geek shows, I've watched this for years, but the inane audience laughter, a lot of lame jokes, and the consistent boring romance sub-plots weren't great. If it wasn't for the characters, who I like, I would have given up ages ago.

The sets designed by John Shaffner, and the nerdy props were great, very well chosen, and really fantastic eye candy, very much like that of the IT Crowd basement office.

Swamp Thing

The new TV show adaptation of the DC Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, and later Alan Moore character starts at the end of this month on Warner Bros. Television.

Andy Bean and Derek Mears play Alec Holland/Swamp Thing and Crystal Reed plays the beautiful scientist and love interest, Abby Arcane; great name.

Star Trek Picard Teaser Trailer

After my tearing into Amazon in the preshow, guess how we get to see this? In the US, it will be on CBS: All Access, but in the good old UK, it will be available from Amazon Prime late this year.

Mais bien sur.

New Game of Thrones Novels: Winds of Winter, A Dream of Spring

Digital Spy and everyone else, and now me too (yawn), reports that GRRM has announced that the next A Song of Ice and Fire doorstop, Winds of Winter, will be out by the end of July 2020.

No deadline for the final book A Dream of Spring, but the two will comprise of three thousand plus pages.

Personally, I only watched the show and I have no interest in the books, though I think he's a good writer and have enjoyed a couple of his other books like Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle) and Tuf Voyaging, long before everyone else jumped on the GRRM A Game of Thrones fanwagon.


Again, it seems impossible that I haven't mentioned this before. I suspect I have, but just in audio and not in the show notes. (Another reason show notes are important).

I wanted to tell you about a trade of a short run comic book on Marvel's mature Epic line. Remember Epic? Remember stories like Dreadstar by Jim Starlin (CRRRaSh! 26, 50, 52, 178) and, way before Xena, we had Marada, the She-Wolf by Chris Claremont and John Bolton?

It's called Moonshadow, written by J. M. DeMatteis, with art by Jon J. Muth et al from 1985. Named after the eponymous Cat Stevens' single, it is a strange fairytale-like science fiction story of a boy born to a hippy mother and a moon-like alien father. The boy then goes off on a space adventure with his cat and an unpleasant alien travelling companion.

The art is beautiful and dreamy, much like the story.

Suzanne Ciani

Suzanne Ciani is an electronic music pioneer. She got her start working for cult synth maker Buchla, but as a woman wasn't really made welcome by the male staff (shame on you Buchla).

She then made money designing sounds, bought her own ferociously expensive Buchla synth, and made a mint making the sparkling bubble sounds for Coke and other soft drinks.

She went on to make a career in electronic sound design and music. Her music is fantastic if you like the spacey stuff, and I do; just look at the title of this show.

Shakespeare's Sister

The duo made up of Siobhan Fahey, formerly of Bananarama, and Marcella Detroit broke up after their one big hit Stay in 1992. Apparently, they've recently reunited.

I've a soft spot for villainous looking Fahey, and really most creepy gothy supervillainesses...

Strawberry Switchblade

....Cue my dim memory of arty gothy 80s Scottish duo Strawberry Switchblade. Remember them?

Ahhh... our shared loved for crazy eye makeup.

The Verve

Richard Ashcroft of the Verve, when picking up an Ivor Novello award, revealed that royalties for Bittersweet Symphony were finally his after more than 20 years.

They were originally nabbed by The Rolling Stones' lawyers because of a four second sample of The Last Time.


The year's remaining Frightfest events are 22nd to 26th August London film event at Leicester Square's Prince Charles and Cineworld, and the Halloween event on Saturday 2nd November at Leicester Square Cineworld Cinema.

The Prince Charles! I know it well! I saw Nightmare on Elm Street there back in the 80s. It was so scary that the girls behind us showered us with popcorn in fear. I was also chased into the street by a furious date in the cafe a few doors down years later. (If you're a long-term listener, you've head those stories before, I know, and I'm sorry).

Search Frightfest for tickets.

Huawei Banned from Android and ARM and Intel and Qualcomm and Micron

Is it now impossible for them to make mobile phones?

Well, Android could be replaced with LineageOS and they could just drop cruddy EMUI, but without the right to buy chips and licence chip designs, I can't see how they are not in serious trouble.

On the other hand, they are rich and big, and have oodles of cash... Maybe they should get to work and make something from scratch, and also not borrow stuff anymore either (ahem, "Tappy").

I have a Huawei phone by sub-brand Honor, called the 9 Lite, which is only a few months old, so I hope my phone isn't rendered useless by this trade war. If it is, I'm going to demand a refund.

What kind of chip is a Micron anyway?

Another Tesla Car Crash

Though Tesla aren't the only self driving car company experiencing fatal crashes.

Is it me, or do these companies seem a little cavalier with human life?

Julian Assange Charged on 17 Counts

Amazingly, US prosecutors have had time to think up (trump up?) 17 charges against Julian Assange. If he is extradited from the UK and the charges stick, he could face life in prison.

According to a BBC article, the charges state that Assange, "repeatedly encouraged sources with access to classified information to steal and provide it to WikiLeaks to disclose". Regarding Chelsea Manning, he, "...agreed to help her crack a password hash to a military computer". He also "revealed the names of human sources and created a grave and imminent risk to human life".

We also shouldn't forget Chelsea Manning, who is back in jail over refusing to re-testify regarding WikiLeaks.

Giant Gold Nugget Found

Metal detectorist/hobby prospector in Australia stumbled upon a whopping 1.4kg nugget worth 100,000 AUD. Apparently nuggets are common in Western Australia.

I used to do a bit of detecting myself, but never really got into it. Too much music to learn and sailing (not to do; maybe soon). I actually bought my metal detector from Tandy when it was still in business.

Sega Genesis Mini

For 69.99 GBP, you can preorder the Sega Genesis Mini in the UK from Smyths Toys and lots of other places. It will be released on 19 September. You will get the Genesis Mini Console, 2 Wired Control Pads, USB Power Adapter, Power Cable, and an HDMI Cable.

They haven't announced all the games so far, so you might want to hold off, if you, like me, are a little mad, and want PGA Tour Golf, Dragon's Fury, and Chakan: The Forever Man. Though, included in the current list of games is, Mr Blue Swimming Trunks, Golden Axe.

September is my birthday month, but there's also a guitar I want to buy that's also due for release in September, so... hard decisions.

The C64

Not the Mini, but on the way is a full sized recreation of the Commodore64 with a working keyboard, that either boots into the emulator or straight into BASIC.

Don't know when it's available.

Screencasting and Editing with Flashback Express, OBS, and OpenShot

I've installed Flashback Express (or some combination of the above) for non-live recording and editing. a screen casting tool to help me record YouTube videos of me doing short gaming speed runs.

It's proprietary, but free, and much more idiot proof than OBS, which is what most Twitch users favour.

Self-Compressing and Normalising Your Own Voice for Podcasting

Hey podcasters, here's something you can do to improve audio.

Once you set your preferred volume or gain and level if you are using a mixer, watch your waveform and try to keep your voice volume more than -24 dB and less than -12 db, i.e. not too quiet, but not causing clipping distortion (i.e. in the red on your meter). I'm saying this as an Audacity user..., but most DAWs and wav recorders display this information as a default.

This is actually a bit loud, but I'm trying to fill the recording with my voice, rather than any background noise.

How's Your Geekly Early Summer Going?

If you're in the UK, have you been to any events, films, etc.?

Written anything? Composed anything? Made Anything?

Let me know.